Everyday tips for mindful living

According to our Healthier Nation Index – a survey of more than 8,000 Britons about their health since the start of the pandemic – 41% of people said their mental health is worse than this time last year. Dr Gail Davies shares some mindfulness tips to help you become more resilient when faced with challenges.

The survey also revealed that the biggest impactors on mental health were pressures linked to work (54%,) and money worries (44%,).

It was also found that nearly one in two women (49%) felt their mental health had worsened over the past year, largely due to the impact of juggling home schooling, professional pressure and caring responsibilities.

Mindfulness can help you deal with day-to-day stresses by bringing your focus into the present moment. Try these mindfulness tips and see how they affect you.

  1. Try to be non-judgemental
    Begin by looking at just the facts, not on the good or the bad, the should or the should not. 
  2. Do one thing at a time
    When you are eating, eat. When you are walking, walk. When you are worrying, worry. Do each thing with all of your attention.
  3. Concentrate your mind
    If you catch yourself doing two things at once, go back to doing one thing.
  4. Notice the experience 
    Don't get caught in it or react to it, just notice it.
  5. Control your attention 
    Don't push things away and do not cling to things.
  6. Be alert to what comes in and out of your mind
    Notice the thoughts, feelings and actions.
  7. Notice your senses
    Think in isolation about the different sounds, sights, smells, feelings and tastes.
  8. Put words on the experience
    When a thought or feeling arises, acknowledge it. Say in your mind, e.g.: “My stomach muscles are tightening up,” or “I suddenly feel very sad.”
  9. Put experiences into words 
    Describe to yourself what is happening. Give your feelings a name. Call a thought a thought, and call a feeling a feeling. Don't get caught up in the content of them e.g.: “I am having the feeling of being a little anxious.”

It can take time for mindfulness to become a habit, so remember to go easy on yourself. Just like going to the gym to strengthen your physical muscles, you’ll need to practice these tips every day to bolster your mental muscles, so that you can tackle any problem that comes your way.

Last updated Thursday 29 April 2021