On mindfulness and dealing with stress

Often, despite the fact that you might have had a great day, week or month, stress just creeps into your life and ruins the fun you have been enjoying so much. You can find yourself feeling anxious and vulnerable, and it's not enjoyable for sure. Today I attended a lecture which opened my eyes to an idea and practice I have known about for a really long time - mindfulness.

The concept of mindfulness essentially means trying to have relaxed focus, being in the present and living your life here and now, rather than in the memory of something which has happened 5 years ago or might hypothetically happened. It brings you back to life and makes you feel the sensation of taking action at this very point. Contrary to the views of many, including myself, being mindful doesn't eliminate your thoughts or feelings in any way, it does the complete opposite instead. It helps you recognise that you are thinking about something untrue, damaging or even something which can't quite happen in reality and deal with it. The realisation with no judgement helps you eradicate the harmful feelings, and therefore combat stress and anxiety, thus improving your life more generally.

Although it might sound like the practice of mindfulness and meditation are for people who deeply anxious and constantly stressed, that is not the case at all. It is instead a mechanism you can use to feel more relaxed before your start your day, to stop getting annoyed with people and just feel more free from your worries and anxieties. It is a way for a lot of us to detach from our stressful lives and regain the focus we had at the beginning of a project, academic year or the time when we came back to work after a vacation.

How to start being mindful?
- The practice takes only 10 minutes and can be done anywhere. It requires you to sit in a comfortable position, whilst continuing to sit up straight and eventually closing your eyes. As you do so, attempt to feel the connection between your body and the object you are sitting on as well as your feet and the floor. Then, try to think about what your nose and ears can sense and the part of your body which feel relaxed. Your thoughts are very likely to creep in at this stage but don't try to push them away; realise that they are there but do not focus on them and go back to recognising how you feel.

This is a very brief summary of what the practice entails but more information can be found on a website called Headspace - https://www.headspace.com/, which provides a number of useful tools for meditation.
I would also like to leave a link to an interesting TED talk which gives more information on being mindful and is generally quite amusing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzR62JJCMBQ&t=22s.