We often rush through life without taking the time to notice anything around us, running from A to B and only really stopping when we take a real break or holiday. Many of us are now so used to this way of living that we don’t even recognise obvious stress symptoms, let alone take time to reduce stress.

Slowing down our day and taking the time to deal with stress is important and Mindfulness is currently a popular technique to attempt this. The NHS describe mindfulness as:

“Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing.

Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. You can take steps to develop it in your own life.”

The problem is, just because Mindfulness is currently very fashionable it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to master, yet many services and products would lead you to believe so.

Our CEO, David Plans, champions the idea that although mindfulness is difficult it can be mastered one small change at a time, especially if you have a way to track your progress;

“Things like mindfulness are difficult to engage with, difficult to understand and even harder to quantify. It’s very hard to track progress on whether you’re becoming a better meditator. But it’s even harder to track progress and what benefit that’s having on your body and your mind.”

Much like improving your physical health through yoga, running, or any other exercise, becoming more mindful takes time and practice. Using mindfulness to manage your stress isn’t easy because as we all know, finding the time in your daily schedule is hard. For mindfulness to truly work it has to become a part of your daily routine and life, turning it into an ingrained habit.

An article by Mindful.org  suggests that there are 5 main reasons why we might be finding mindfulness hard:

  1. We don’t fully understand what it is
  2. We forget to be curious
  3. We make it larger than it is
  4. We only practice when we’re upset
  5. We try to go it alone

We like to add another point to this list:

  1. It’s hard to see/feel your progress and therefore, it’s hard to create a daily habit.

Another problem is that people assume the key is to ‘empty your head’, which is almost impossible to do!

The Huffington Post explains why trying to ‘empty your head’ will not help achieve mindfulness:

“The first reason that mindfulness is extremely difficult is because we cannot instruct the mind what not to think. If I ask you to close your eyes and for the next 30 seconds do not visualize a white elephant, or Barack Obama standing on the White House lawn wearing only American flag boxer shorts, your mind will insert an image and then remove it. That is how the mind negates.”

Mindfulness is about recognising the difference between ‘you’ and ‘your thoughts’ and learning how to stop your thoughts leading to negative emotions or stress.

Similar to building muscle, mindfulness takes time and dedication. However, Hear and Now hopes to help you to master these techniques by giving you immediate feedback (from your body and heart patterns) to guide and help you see your progress, one small change at a time.

Master mindfulness

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