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What is mindfulness?

Sometimes our stress and worries are a result of us focusing and reliving past moments or fixating and worrying about the future. Mindfulness is a technique that suggests that if we focus on our present moment then it can have a positive effect on our mental wellbeing. Mindfulness allows us to appreciate and brings our attention to the present moment. Techniques such as meditation, yoga and breathing help you notice your thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to change them or push them away.

> Download our guide to mindfulness and meditation

How can mindfulness help you?

There are a number of benefits that can be found by paying attention to the present moment, these include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Bringing the minds attention away from worries regarding the past and future
  • Reducing the amount of time spent going over past negative events
  • Overcoming negative thoughts
  • Improving focus
  • Helping us to accept and cope with life’s difficulties

Types of mindfulness exercises

  • Noticing Your Body

Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable where you won’t be disturbed for 10-20 minutes. Keep both feet on the floor. Close your eyes (preferable) or fix your eyes on the floor about a foot in front of you. Start with noticing any feelings/sensations in your feet, areas of hot or cold, aches or tensions. Just notice these different sensations and move on, don’t think about it. If you get distracted by thought, just go back to noticing again. Carry on like this, paying attention to each part of your body in turn.

  • Mindful Breathing

Sit in the same position for noticing your body. Notice your breath as it comes in and out of your mouth or nostrils, travelling through your body. For example, does it feel light or heavy, regular or irregular? No need to change your breathing.

Notice your breathing as it is. Notice other sensations in the body, whilst keeping your main focus on your breathing. Again, if you get distracted bring your attention back to your breathing

  • Mindful Looking

You can choose to fix you eyes on a simple object like a pen for about 10 minutes while sitting in a quiet space. Allow your mind to settle and become quiet, you are simply looking, not thinking about the object. If you notice that your mind has been drifting, just bring it back to the object.

  • Mindful Walking

When you are walking outdoors, or indoors, notice each of your steps. Notice each time the sole of your feet meets the ground, and each time it leaves the ground. Notice the sensations caused by this activity in your feet, lower legs and in your hips and body generally.

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