Mindfulness - not just another buzz word

Mindfulness - not just another buzz word

It may sound like just another buzzword of the moment - up there with green smoothies, and Bikram yoga - but mindfulness is increasingly being recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, handle difficult situations, increase self-awareness, improve your health and some say, live longer. Based on Buddhist meditation, mindfulness is just that - being aware moment to moment. How often do you multi-task? Watch the news, whilst checking your emails, with a work document nearby? How often do we just do one thing at a time? It is pretty rare in the world we live in. Our multi-tasking behaviours put undue stress on our brain by requiring us to split our attention. Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. In 2015, a systematic review and meta-analysis of reviews of randomised controlled trials revealed the use of mindfulness programs improved a number of mental and physical disorders and brought about positive structural changes in the brain - with some researchers suggesting it can prevent or delay the onset of cognitive impairment. On this Mental Health Day, and as we move towards the often chaotic part of the year, we encourage everyone to take a moment each day to just focus on one thing and be mindful.

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