Autumn is well underway and provides an ideal chance to practice mindfulness. The abundance of sights smells and sounds the season brings are easy to focus upon. They help us practice being present and mindful of the things around us, that otherwise we often let pass us by.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment and aware of where you are and what you’re doing. At the same time, you need to ensure that you’re not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. It’s something that we all naturally have the ability to do. However, it can be difficult to achieve without regular practice.
It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts and end up living in our heads. We can stop noticing the world around us, or lose touch with how our bodies are feeling. We often dwell on or overthink things that either have occurred in the past or are yet to happen. Instead, we should be enjoying and experiencing the present moment. It’s important to actively notice our thoughts and how they drive our emotions and behaviours.
Why practice Mindfulness?
Research shows that when we train ourselves to be mindful, we are actually re-modelling our brains. It is, therefore, a tool that can help in aiding anxiety and depression, and for supporting our mental health self-care.
By training ourselves to be mindful we can start to recognise patterns in our thoughts. We can notice when our thoughts are taking over and can deal with issues more productively. We will be able to notice signs of stress or anxiety, and therefore deal with them earlier, and more successfully.
So why not take a walk out in the park, woods or fields around you on a crisp autumn morning? Enjoy the crunching of the leaves underfoot, the beauty of the colours in the trees and the frantic searching of the animals for the last bounties of nature before winter sets in. Enjoy the present, and forget the stresses that are burdening your mind for a while. You will feel more relaxed, and less stressed or anxious. You may also find that stepping away from overthinking any issues you’re currently facing, can often cause you to suddenly find the solution when you return to it later.
Supporting techniques and journaling
Developing the ability to be mindful requires practice, and it can be difficult to get into the habit, so do not despair if it takes you a while to achieve it. There are many resources on the web, or even apps for your smartphone, that can help support your practice in this area and provide ideas on how to develop mindfulness. It can also be useful to take a more formal approach by trying techniques such as breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or yoga and tai-chi.
Journaling can also be a useful outlet to help you focus your thoughts and be mindful of what you are feeling or thinking. Our Journalise.Journal J101 also explores some of these techniques in its daily exercises. Take a look at our journals, whether you need help with building a journaling practice (our Journalise.Journal J101), or are a seasoned journaler (our Journalise.Journal J121), we have the tools to support you focus and journal in your way.