Give mindfulness a go this summer

Mental health is important all year round, especially as we fast approach Results Day 2019.

The long summer break, whilst being a chance to wind down and relax before the start of a new term, can also be a highly stressful time.

It’s just as important to look after your mental wellbeing during summer as it is during term time.

Waiting on exam results, starting a part-time job or feelings of loneliness without being surrounded by college or university friends can all have negative effects on our emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Practising mindfulness is one of the ways you can improve your mental health. It’s simple to do,and studies have proven itcan help focus and calm our thoughts.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is purely taking in and observing what is happening in that precise moment. It’s taking notice of not just what is happening around you, but also paying attention to your senses and emotions.

How do I practice mindfulness?

You can practice mindfulnessat any point in the day, whether that’s on the walk into town or during the advert break of your favourite show.

Take a moment to stop what you’re doing, and take notice of your surroundings and what you can smell, feel and hear around you. Plenty of studies show that appreciating what’s going on in the present moment can help us to spot when we’re beginning to feel stressed or anxious, meaning we can find better coping strategies.

A lot of people use walking or yoga to escape their anxieties and practice mindfulness. But if exercise isn’t your thing, you can give it a go while eating – the perfect excuse to indulge yourself with some well-deserved chocolate! As you take a bite, close your eyes and appreciate the taste of it on your tongue as it melts. A real treat ‘yo self moment.

Not everyone finds that mindfulness is the solution to their anxiety, but for many people taking a few moments each day to appreciate the world around them has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing.

What do you do to practice mindfulness?

There’s plenty of apps on the market to help you improve and establish mindfulness practice into your daily life – perfect if you’re a complete novice and don’t know where to begin.

And, the best part, the majority of them offer mediation and mindfulness sessions for free. Headspace and Stop Breathe & Think are among some of the most popular apps for practising mindfulness.

A few of the apps offer an optional subscription for more mindfulness content. But you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying it for free and you might gain some tips for how to practice mindfulness on your own, without the app.

The NHS website also offers some tips on how to improve mental wellbeing through practicing mindfulness here.

Words: Olivia McCann

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