We’ve all heard the term mindfulness before, but knowing what mindfulness is and how to practise is something not many healthcare professionals know about. That’s why we’ve created our very own pracitising mindfulness guide.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being aware of your senses, thoughts and being present in the moment without being interrupted or judged.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness is known to reduce stress and help notice signs of anxiety. It allows us to take a step back from our thoughts and enhance emotional regulation. Over time, you can train yourself to notice when your thoughts take over and realise that no matter how strong those thoughts are, they do not control us.
How can you practise mindfulness?
You can practice mindfulness by trying a range of techniques that focus on your physical and mental health and don't require any special equipment. Below is a list of mindfulness techniques to try:
Mindful waking up
Before starting your morning and reaching for your phone, try this technique to increase your motivation and strengthen your focus. Carrying out this practise will make your conversations and actions more mindful and passionate.
When you have woken up, sit up in your bed or a chair in a relaxed posture.
Close your eyes and focus on the sensations of your body. Whilst carrying out this movement, make sure your spine is straight but not rigid.
Take three deep breaths. Breath in through your nose, then out through your mouth. Let your breathing settle into its own rhythm as you continue this breathing exercise. Focus solely on the rise and fall of your chest and stomach as you breathe.
To bring this practise to an end, ask yourself out loud, “What is my intention for today?” Use the below prompts to help you answer that question.
- How can I go to my shift and make a positive impact?
- What do I want to strengthen and develop today?
- What do I need to do to take better care of myself?
- How can I feel more connected and fulfilled in my role?
Here is a mindfulness video guide to help you start your day. The video will help you to feel awake and motivated when you awake and get ready for the day ahead.
This technique simply means paying more attention to your food and drink. Below are a few tips to try when practising mindful eating.
1. Breath before eating
We often forget to take pauses when eating. Try to pause regularly when you're eating; it will naturally slow you down and allow your meal to be fully digested and reduce any bloating or discomfort.
2. Listen to your body
After taking a break from your food, focus on the physical sensations in your stomach. Ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being you don’t feel hungry and 10 being you feel very hungry, ask yourself “How hungry do I feel?”. This technique allows you to listen to your body and not your thoughts.
3. How are you feeling after your meal
When we eat, we don’t tend to focus on how we’re actually feeling. Ask yourself are you still feeling hungry, are you full or even tired. This will give a good indication of whether you need to consume more food or if you feel comfortably full.
Being mindful when you exercise can be beneficial for your mental health, physical health and wellbeing. Here are a few things to consider when you are practising mindful exercise.
1. Prepare your mind and your body
Without realising, we often approach exercise with a busy schedule. It’s important to make sure you give your mind and body time to come to a neutral state before starting to exercise. To help with this, spend a few minutes taking deep breaths to clear your mind and prepare your body for your exercise.
2. Set yourself meaningful goals for exercise
Most people exercise with weight loss in mind. While this goal may be suitable long term. Think about short term meaningful goals that will benefit you mentally and physically. This could be anything from reducing your stress levels, feeling more energised throughout the day or getting enough sleep.
3. Reflect on your exercise
After exercising, take some time to reflect on how you’re feeling. Allow yourself to feel satisfied with the time and energy you have put into your health.
The importance of mindfulness for healthcare professionals
Healthcare professionals are naturally compassionate and caring people. Trying to be mindful can be challenging when dealing with constant reactive changes whilst delivering care and ensuring clients health and safety is at the forefront.
Mindfulness and compassion are interlinked. Mindfulness is known to reduce self-judgement and provide an opportunity to remove any negative emotions and focus on self-kindness. Compassion leads to more positive mental health outcomes, such as reducing anxiety and depression.
A mindful healthcare professional is someone who is focused on the moment. They are conscious about the individual they are caring for, their team and themselves. When nurses and support workers practise mindfulness, they embrace the moment and go above and beyond their responsibilities as healthcare workers.
Implementing the above mindfulness practices into your routine can benefit your career, mental health, physical health and wellbeing. If you have any mindfulness tips to share with us, comment below.
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