Good mental health: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way of living in the present and bringing our attention to the present moment.
When we can be present in the moment, tuning into what is going on both inside and outside of us, it can help us to see ourselves and our lives more positively.
How mindfulness can help
Mindfulness can help to manage anxiety, depression and stress related to your sight loss. If you are very worried about your sight, you may often feel overwhelmingly angry, anxious or depressed and may experience a fast heartbeat or racing thoughts, tense muscles or shallow breathing. By focusing your attention on the present moment and concentrating on your breathing and inner body sensations or behaviour, you can notice how your thoughts come and go in your mind. The following are ways that mindfulness can help with your mental health:
- it can help you feel calmer and less stressed with a sense of freedom from depression and anxiety
- it can help you feel more in control of your thoughts and feelings, noticing more when your thoughts are taking over and leaving you feeling low, worried or panicked
- it can help you to have a better understanding of yourself and to be kinder to yourself with increased self-awareness
- it can help you have a sense of purpose and control, in addition to feeling valued in your relationships
- it can help you to develop a better perspective on your life and help you recognise things that you may have been taking for granted
- it can help you enjoy the world around you, with a deeper sense of connection to your community and surroundings.
The good thing about mindfulness is that it can be practised anywhere at any time that suits you and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Below are some simple mindfulness practices which you can try:
- Breathing – Take a minute to listen and become aware of your breathing. Breathe in and out as you normally would, noticing the time spent between each in and out breath. Bring your focus to how your lungs expand and contract and the feeling of the air entering through your nose. If you find your mind wanders (as it always will) gently bring your attention back to your breath.
- Body scan – Take a minute to bring your attention to how you are feeling in your body. Begin with your toes and work your way up your body until you reach the top of your head. Focus on the sensations you may feel in different parts of your body. For example, do your legs feel heavy or is there an ache behind your eyes?
- Mindful listening – Take a minute to listen to all the sounds around you. Tuning into all these different sounds can help you to be more in contact with the rest of your environment and life around you. As you listen to the sounds, notice your feelings, your inner body sensations and your thoughts that are present in your mind.
- The NHS: General information on mindfulness
- Mind: Information on mindfulness and how to practice it
- Mental Health Foundation: Information on how to look after your mental wellbeing using mindfulness
- Be Mindful: Online mindfulness course for reducing stress, depression and anxiety
- The Free Mindfulness Project: Guided mindfulness exercises
- Fragrant Heart: Guided mindfulness meditations
- The Meditation Podcast: Offers a range of different meditation styles
- Audio Dharma: Various online talks and videos on mindfulness
- Headspace: An app providing guided mindfulness meditation techniques
- RNIB Talking Books: Offers a range of mindfulness-related publications. Contact our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 for a full list of mindfulness titles in alternative formats.