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Knowledge hub

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is very closely linked to meditation, but it deserves its own section! Mindfulness is the human ability to be present in the moment, be aware of your surroundings and what you are doing. 

It helps us not become overwhelmed by what is going on around us or in our own heads. There are lots of different ways to remain present throughout your day and here are a few.

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How to practice mindfulness
Mindful walk
Making Your Motto

This personalised saying is a set of memorised phrases that are repeated silently whenever you want to give yourself compassion. The goal of this is to combat negative emotions when they arise by reminding you that you deserve kindness and happiness. Your saying will consist of three to four sentences that each invoke a feeling of positivity, strength and shared humanity.

1. The first sentence should try to label or acknowledge your experience objectively. Try some of the previous exercises on the website to understand your emotions before trying this. Examples -

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I am not having a good time at this moment

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I am really suffering
right now

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I am currently feeling unhappy and hopeless

2. Your second sentence could remind you that suffering is a shared experience, and the feeling is impertinent. Try something like -

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I am not alone in suffering

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This is a shared experience by all

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Suffering is a part of life

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Others have got through this emotion, so I can too

3. The third sentence should aim to bring caring concern for yourself in this moment. Try to think of something that might personally soothe you in that moment. Examples -

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 I can do this right now

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May I give myself the kindness I need right now

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I deserve love and affection

4. The last sentence is there to set your intention to be kind and considerate to yourself. Examples -

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 I can do this right now

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 I can do this

right now

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I am worthy of happiness

Once you have created your personal motto, memorise it so you are ready for when you need it. Play around with where you put the emphasis in each sentence. This can help bring new life to your motto when you have used it a lot. Try repeating it next time you need to look after yourself. It’s a great and easy way to foster a positive outlook when things are difficult.

Reflection Not Rumination

If you find yourself rethinking an event or what someone else has said or done even if it was long ago, this is known as rumination.

 

Rumination is a natural response to a problematic situation which can result in negative cycles that have the capacity to hinder mental health.

 

When we choose to focus on memories of a loved one to keep them close to us this can be comforting for it serves a purpose. However, when we start to repetitively replay it over and over again this can associate with negative emotions and cause distress which is unhealthy for us. If your negative moods or thoughts persist or you are finding them too difficult please contact your family doctor or mental health professional.

So how do you go about stopping rumination?
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Set time aside each day to allow yourself to go over anything that may have caused you trouble or is worrying you

Try and not let it negatively impact your whole day, instead set 20 minutes aside in the evening to allow yourself to go over the issue. Scheduling time to go over an issue can help keep the rest of your day rumination free whilst still allowing yourself time to think about what is worrying you.

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When you notice the patterns often associated with rumination, distract yourself instead – move your body, count down from 5 and take deep breaths to take your mind elsewhere

You can do this through meditation or mindfulness, or just focus on what you need to do in your day. Some thoughts are best left, so that you can focus on the more positive ones. The difference being that reflection has intent for beneficial outcomes, it is a growth mindset that we can use to help improve our lives - it is similar to rumination in the sense that we focus on our past experiences without the negativity attached.

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Journal what went on and how you felt

Keeping a journal allows you to create a space where you can reflect on your experiences and discuss healthy coping strategies that you have tried or want to try. People tend to have a theme to their rumination, so it is helpful to recognise this and acknowledge how and why it is making you feel a certain way. This is a great step towards combating the issue or thought.

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Reflection allows us to learn through experience and focus on the positive aspects that went well

This can be tricky for most of us hence why rumination comes into play.
Reflection allows you to take control over your feelings and behaviours and come to terms with why and how to improve going forward or perhaps reveal something about yourself.


A beneficial aspect of reflection is that it influences self confidence as you acknowledge yourself and what motivates you to be the best you. If you are always stuck in the past you may end up creating patterns of rumination.

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To help move forward and achieve, it is important to reflect not ruminate

Reflecting on our thoughts and experiences and learning from them helps us grow as humans. We can use our experiences constructively and without pain. Turning your rumination into healthy reflection can help improve your wellbeing and mental health.

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