Mindfulness: Understanding and Implementing the Practice

Mindfulness is a state of being present and fully engaged in the moment. It is a practice that has gained immense popularity in recent years and is often used as a tool for stress reduction and overall well-being. Despite its growing popularity, many people still have misconceptions about what mindfulness is and how it can be practiced. In this article, we will explore the concept of mindfulness in depth and offer practical tips for incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a practice that involves bringing your full attention to the present moment, without judgment. It means paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise, without getting caught up in them or trying to change them. By doing this, you can increase your awareness of the present moment and develop a more intentional and fulfilling life.

The practice of mindfulness has its roots in ancient Eastern traditions, including Buddhism. However, mindfulness has been adapted and incorporated into many Western approaches to health and wellness. Research has shown that mindfulness can have a positive impact on a variety of health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. It has also been shown to improve focus, increase empathy and compassion, and enhance overall well-being.

Benefits of Mindfulness

There are numerous benefits to practicing mindfulness on a regular basis. Some of the most notable benefits include:

Reduced stress and anxiety: By bringing your focus to the present moment, you can reduce the impact of stress and anxiety on your life.
Improved physical and mental health: Regular mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep quality.
Increased focus and productivity: Mindfulness can help you become more focused and productive by allowing you to stay present and focused on the task at hand.
Improved relationships: Mindfulness can improve communication and increase empathy and compassion, leading to better relationships with others.
How to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Daily Life

Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can be as simple or as complex as you like. Here are some practical tips for getting started:
Start with a few minutes a day: Start by setting aside just a few minutes each day for mindfulness practice. This can be as simple as paying attention to your breath, or you can try a guided meditation.
Make mindfulness a habit: Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine by practicing it at the same time each day. This can help you make mindfulness a habit, rather than something you have to remember to do.
Practice mindfulness in everyday activities: You don't have to set aside special time for mindfulness practice. You can practice mindfulness in everyday activities, such as taking a walk, cooking, or washing the dishes.
Find a mindfulness community: Find a group of people who are interested in mindfulness and practice with them regularly. This can help you stay motivated and committed to the practice.

Mindfulness is a practice that can have a positive impact on your life in numerous ways. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving physical and mental health, mindfulness can help you live a more intentional and fulfilling life. By incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine and making it a habit, you can reap the benefits of this ancient practice.

Tips for mental wellbeing in 2021


One of the first tips for helping your mental and physical wellbeing in 2021 is to remember to connect with other people and regardless of physical boundaries, which have been imposed on us in the past year, it is important more than ever in 2021 that we make time to connect with the people who matter most to us even when the restrictions finally end. The people that make us smile the people who make us laugh. Never have more people connected as they did in 2020 through the power of technology. This isn't just a case of socialising, which in itself is positive to our wellbeing, there is a physiological benefit to releasing all the positive neurotransmitters into our system that allow us to feel happier which happens when we interact, whether virtually or in person. All you have to do is look at a grandmothers face who hasn't seen her grandchild when she connects via Face-time or the family who meet up and hug at Christmas after not having had that luxury. A happy mind strengthens our physical health, improves the bodies immune system and generally helps us function more effectively. Always remember that each person you meet is a doorway into another world. Building solid and very social connections in your life can increase your feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.

The second way we have to work on our well-being is by being as active as possible. Remember how good you felt when you were only allowed to go out for a 15-minute walk during the first lockdown? Moving your body is one of the key ways to counter any negative stress hormones by allowing the body to feel rebalanced re-energised and more motivated. Even if you were to have a brisk walk for 10 minutes or 15 minutes a day, you would already be investing in your future health. Your body craves the kind of rebalancing that can only come from getting fresh air and the right amount of oxygen. Moreover, exercise is the ideal way to quieten the mind of racing thoughts, and reactive emotions almost like a physical form of meditation.

The third way to work on your well-being is by committing yourself to keep learning something new. A comfort zone is a cool place but nothing ever grows there. Learn to step out of your comfort zone. You will learn things you never knew that you never knew. Stimulating the brain to do what it does best make connections and evolve is the best way to keep mental health as fit, efficient and as optimal as possible. Your brain thrives off being creative and being able to be inspired which is what allows the mind to feel a sense of purpose and by doing that you reduce your stress and you also become generally more mentally resilient.

Did you know that one of the main ways to be happier in yourself is to be more helpful to other people? When we learn to help other people we naturally allow ourselves to feel happier. It's just the way we are built. Whether it's giving a friend a hand, throwing your weight in behind a cause that matters or just supporting other people in some way who may be in a more disadvantageous position than you, giving is like gold dust for our mental well-being. Make 2021 the year when you go out of your way to Smile More at people you don't even know, offer to support someone who may be in need or just generally to be kinder and more thoughtful. The law of attraction suggests that what you put out you get back and so how important is being happy to you?

The final and most important way to work on your well-being in 2021 is to pay more attention to where you are not where you've been and not where you think you'll be. Learning to be more mindful allows you to be present and therefore be happy right now with what's in front of you. Remember, when you like what you have, you have everything you need. All too often we live in a future that hasn't happened yet which acts as a complete drain on our mental resources. You don't have to run into the future in order to get more. Concentrate on what's right in front of you in terms of the family and friends that matter most, in terms of the breath you take every day and the roof you have over your head. Remind yourself that most of the time when you pay attention to where you are you are safe and you are ok. Next time you go out for a walk remember that every blade of grass has a different shade of green. Ever noticed that before?

Remote Hypnotherapy. A new possibility?

Week 3 in lockdown and I just wanted to offer some thoughts on how this service is continuing to adjust and function during the current conditions, and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at how effective remote hypnotherapy has been. Since the government announced the lockdown measures I have treated all of my clients through a combination of WhatsApp and Skype and up to this point I have seen no evidence that this has been detrimental to the overall effectiveness of any of the treatment. People appear to respond very well to direct hypnosis through the screen. This would have been unthinkable a few years ago with slower internet speeds and poorer technology.


This was also the week I was invited to speak about tips for better sleep and anxiety management on Radio Cumbria. During a 20-minutes interview with Radio Cumbria's Darren Milby I was able to share some of my tips for establishing better sleep rhythms and even though the technology did let me down half way through the interview with a bit of team effort we were able to get back on track and deliver the intended message. Full broadcast can be accessed here
Radio Cumbria Interview


Nobody knows exactly where this current situation is leading and undoubtedly that is the main reason many people's mental health is being challenged right now. Whenever there is a void where there is a lack of clarity of how each day is going to turn out we fill it with our own stories and 'what if' scenarios. Those stories we tell ourselves are often less than helpful or productive and belie the fact that in the moment we find ourselves in more often than not there is no immediate danger even though everything around us from the media to social media and the echo chambers of our own fear would suggest otherwise. At the time of writing I do know that there is a tremendous spirit in all of us and a much stronger resilience than we might appreciate especially among the vast majority of people in our individual communities and neighbourhoods. We will come through the other side and my hope is we will be better people for it with more empathy and willingness to connect with the real world and not just virtually. Never has there been a better demonstration of our willingness to accept we are part of a collective whole than on Thursday nights at 8pm when everybody celebrates our appreciation for our key workers. In years to come we may remember 2-minutes every week when we stood outside with our neighbours and other strangers, looked at each other smiled and waved and then realised that may be for far too long we have taken our relationships for granted and ignored what we are all about.

Be safe, be well.


What exactly is hypnosis?


My name is David Faratian. I am a consultant hypnotherapist practising at the Cumbria Hypnosis Mindfulness Clinic and in this article, I would like to explore the fascinating psychology of hypnosis and hypnotherapy and attempt to unravel some of the more common myths. Hypnosis has become well-known thanks to popular acts where people are prompted to perform unusual or ridiculous actions, but, it has also been clinically proven to provide medical and therapeutic benefits, most notably in the reduction of pain and anxiety. It has even been suggested that hypnosis can reduce the symptoms of dementia. When you hear the word hypnotist, what comes to mind?

If you’re like many people, the word may conjure up images of a sinister stage-villain who brings about a hypnotic state by swinging a pocket watch back and forth. While hypnosis is often described as a sleep-like trance state, it is better expressed as a state characterised by focused attention, heightened suggestibility, and vivid fantasies. People in a hypnotic state often seem sleepy and zoned out, but in reality, they are in a state of hyper-awareness. In psychology, hypnosis is sometimes referred to as hypnotherapy and has been used for a number of purposes including the reduction and treatment of pain. Hypnosis is usually performed by a trained therapist who utilises visualisation and verbal repetition to induce a hypnotic state.

  So what can hypnotherapy help with? Often hypnotherapy is seen as the magic bullet for dealing with smoking cessation and weight loss. While this is partially true, what people may not always realise is that hypnosis has applications far more far-reaching and effective for a wide range of limiting beliefs, behaviours and emotions, including generalised anxiety disorders, OCD, ADHD, IBS, PTSD, Panic attacks, and even some forms of chronic pain. Often hypnotherapy can be a powerful ally for conventional medical treatments as it empowers self-belief and the ability for the client to heal themselves. Essentially the hypnotherapist acts as a bridge between the issue being dealt with and the part within capable of learning and making changes, namely the subconscious mind. If this brief introduction has piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about how this approach may offer a solution to a long-standing issue which has not been effectively dealt with yet, then find out more by reading the rest of the information on this website.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Light, Exercise, and Diet Help Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Transitioning to the long, dark days of winter usually takes a little time. It’s hard reacclimatising to waking up in the dark and returning home from work in the dark. For most people, adjusting to the change of season once again as everyday activities move indoors is just business as usual. However, according to American Family Physician, as much as 6 percent of the population suffers from a form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is also known as winter depression.
Fatigue, an unhealthy craving for carbohydrates, and a persistently bad mood are common symptoms of SAD. In the more severe cases, work productivity may suffer and individuals might avoid going outside altogether. Feelings of hopelessness and low motivation often ensue. When SAD impairs your ability to function normally, it’s time to adopt self-help strategies that can help get you reenergised.
Research has shown that a lack of exposure to natural light is a leading cause of seasonal affective disorder. It creates a hormonal imbalance that has a direct effect on mood and motivation. House lamps aren’t strong enough and often use the wrong kind of light (white light is necessary). A light box, one that generates at least 10,000 lux (100 times stronger than a lightbulb), is usually prescribed in such cases. They’re made specifically for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, and they’re safe because they filter out ultraviolet light. In fact, some people keep a light box at work so they’re exposed to light throughout the day. It’s also important to get as much exposure to natural light as possible. If you can, make a point of taking a walk on your lunch hour or walk (or ride a bicycle) to the store instead of driving.

Balanced Diet
People who struggle with SAD tend to overeat comfort foods that are heavy in carbohydrates, which causes weight gain. Overeating becomes a form of unhealthy emotional compensation, so it’s important to stick with a balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein. Emphasise foods rich in vitamin D, a byproduct of sunlight which is in short supply late in the year. Salmon, eggs, mushrooms, and foods rich in omega 3 are especially beneficial late in the year.
Find Ways to Stay Active
Exercise is a good way to improve your mental outlook. It activates feel-good hormones in the brain that encourage you to continue exercising. Physical activity gets your blood flowing and heart pumping, a self-invigorating form of care that can help you overcome the effects of fatigue and lethargy. Research has shown that even one hour of exercise a week can mitigate the effects of depression.
Social Interaction
Getting out and about may be the last thing an individual plagued by seasonal affective disorder feels like doing, but it’s important for combatting poor moods and feelings of isolation. Simple acts like going for a walk outdoors with a neighbor or relative can improve your sense of well-being. Or, make a point of having coffee with a friend once a week at your favourite shop. Sometimes, just sharing happy memories with people you care about can have an uplifting effect on your spirits.
Meditate and Contemplate
Sometimes, engaging in contemplative disciplines like meditation and journaling can help you achieve a new perspective, one that helps you overcome depression and keep problems in their proper perspective. Meditation is a good way to strengthen the mind-body connection, whereas keeping a journal helps you make sense of your thoughts and feelings in a way that nothing else can.
Gut Health
It’s very difficult to feel good about things when your digestive health is suffering. Maintaining a balance between good and bad gut bacteria is essential for good digestion and your overall physical well-being.
Caring for your mental and physical needs can help stave off the emotionally debilitating effects of seasonal affective disorder. So, remember to stay physically active and set aside some time to process your thoughts, both of which are important strategies when the long days and lack of sunlight weigh down on you.
With special thanks to guest blogger Kimberly Hayes

If you would like more information about how our service can help with SAD or any other form of generalised anxiety disorder then click here for a FREE exploratory consultation.

Wishing you a peaceful day,
David Faratian