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Mindfulness: Attention to the present moment can improve wellbeing.


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

Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted.

"Mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience," says Professor Williams, "and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful. This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns." Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply 'mental events' that do not have to control us.

For people who’ve experienced trauma, mindfulness meditation can actually end up exacerbating symptoms of traumatic stress. When asked to pay focused, sustained attention to their internal experience, trauma survivors can find themselves overwhelmed by flashbacks and heightened emotional arousal.

Yet mindfulness is also a valuable asset for trauma survivors. Mindfulness can enhance present-moment awareness, increase self-compassion, and strengthen a person’s ability to self-regulate—all important skills that support trauma recovery.

It may be helpful to begin with some external mindfulness exercises to re-train the brain to pay attention in a particular way. This could be mindful walking, mindful listening of sounds around or doing daily chores in the house. You could then try internal mindfulness, perhaps start by focusing on the breathe. It may be uncomfortable at first but if you notice any intrusive thoughts/emotions/memories/images or dissociation then focus on a grounding technique then revisit the mindfulness practice. Take it at your own pace and practice.

Try these Mindfulness exercises:


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