a wooden mindfulness sign nailed on to a tree stump

​What is Mindfulness?

the word mindfulness is written in sand at the beach

Have you ever driven your car to a particular destination and arrived at the venue only to realise that you have no recollection of your journey at all? This state is often referred to as “mindlessness” or “autopilot”.

At the opposite end of the spectrum lies the state of mindfulness. When you are being mindful, it means you are in a state of “total awareness”, and are able to pay close attention to the present moment. You specifically direct your attention to the activities you are doing, such as reading a book, brushing your teeth, riding a bike, or even when having a meal. Mindfulness also means observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging whether they are good or bad.

When you are practising mindfulness, you will be able to experience a moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, emotions and sensations. Instead of just letting life pass you by, through mindfulness, you will become more awake to your daily experience and live in the moment.

Related: Being Mindful About Mindfulness

How It Can Help Caregivers

asian woman with her hand on the shoulder of elderly woman comforting her

Practising mindfulness can reduce feelings of stress and depression, and improve one's overall mental wellbeing:

  • Research has shown that many caregivers risk suffering from poor physical health. But those who practise mindfulness on a regular basis sleep better, have decreased stress levels and lead a better quality of life.

It can allow you to have a relaxed body and mind:

  • Mindfulness teaches you to be fully present in the moment and to be totally aware of your surroundings and the activities you engage in, like the simple act of breathing. In moments of stress, caregivers can use this practice to re-gain inner balance.

Mindfulness is NOT: A religious practice. You do not have to practise any religion, adopt a faith, or give up your religious faith, to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness.

Useful Tips

  • Choose a comfortable position – you can either be sitting or standing.
  • Feel your body – notice your hands and feet.
  • Take three breaths – observe yourself breathing in and out three consecutive times.
  • Smile and thank yourself when you are done!
  • You do not have to sit cross-legged, you can be on a couch or a bed.
  • A quiet room is helpful but not a requirement – you can practise mindfulness anywhere as it is about noticing and observing your present moment.
  • Do not be too harsh on yourself if you find that you are unable to focus on your breathing. It is natural for your mind to wander. Be patient with yourself when this happens, and draw your attention, without judging, back to your breath.

Mindfulness Courses

There are many mindfulness courses in Singapore. You can check out some offered by Brahm Centre. Find out more about the centre's range of courses at www.brahmcentre.com

This article first published on NEXTSTEP Magazine, Year 2016, Issue 3. NEXTSTEP is a quarterly magazine on Community Care by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).

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