What is mindfulness?

Monday, 5 February 2018

Mindfulness is being fully present in the moment, fully aware of where we are and what we’re doing. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice our thoughts are often stuck in what’s happened in the past or thinking about the future while our bodies operate on auto-pilot. Rates of stress and anxiety continue to rise and can be compounded with living with diabetes. Mindfulness can help alleviate feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious by the challenges of living with diabetes.

Mindfulness can help you:

  • Clear your head and slow down your thoughts
  • Be more aware of yourself and your body
  • Sleep easier
  • Concentrate on what you are doing at the time
  • Relax
  • Cope with stress, depression and anxiety.

Essentially, being mindful helps you enjoy the moment you’re living in, which benefits your mental and physical help. Here are a few simple ways you can practise mindfulness:

1. Focus on how you are feeling in the moment. How are you feeling right now? Tired, hungry, happy?
2. Concentrate on what you sense in the moment. Do you feel hot or cold? What can you physically feel? Can you hear anything?
3. Spend a minute every day trying to clear your mind. Don’t label things you notice as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Just notice them and let them be.
4. When you’re at work, out with friends or trying to get to sleep, write down your thoughts or worries to revisit later. Do you need to be thinking about this right now, or can it wait?
5. If solo practice doesn’t work for you, you can download the Headspace app or participate in a meditation class.

Mindfulness is not a substitute for professional help. If you are experiencing prolonged periods of anxiety or depression it’s important to seek help and speak to your GP. See the NDSS Fact Sheets on anxiety and depression for more information.

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