Finding the time to practice mindfulness in the forest can heighten your enjoyment of this beautiful season. So what is mindfulness, and how can it help you? We spoke to Mind, the mental health charity, to get the best possible advice.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a technique that can help people manage their mental health or simply gain more enjoyment from life. It doesn’t require any specialist knowledge – it is simply about taking notice of what is going on for you right now, making a special effort to give your full attention to what is happening in your body, your mind or your surroundings in a non-judgemental way.
Mindfulness describes a way of approaching our thoughts and feelings so that we become more aware of them and react differently to them.
Taking Notice is just one of five ways to boost your personal wellbeing, along with:
- Connecting – social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
- Being Active – regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.
- Learning – continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.
- Giving – individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.
Together these actions are known as the Five Ways to Wellbeing and further information can be found on the Mind website.
How can mindfulness help?
In mindfulness you work to become more aware of how you're thinking and feeling. Mindfulness suggests that if you're able to understand your thoughts and feelings more clearly, it could help you:
- Notice how you typically think and react to feelings and events
- Notice that thoughts come and go and don't define who you are or your experience of the world
- Notice when you get caught up in negative thoughts and take steps to change how you're thinking
- Be kinder towards yourself
- Feel calmer and able to manage stress better
- Manage some physical health problems, like chronic pain.
Research suggests that practising mindfulness can help you manage mild depression and some anxiety problems, although it is not recommended if you have social anxiety and not everyone finds it helpful.
For more information about mindfulness visit the Mind website.
This content was provided working with Mind, the mental health charity. Mind is a registered charity No. 219830
 Hofmann et al (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. J Consult Clin Psychol. Apr;78(2):169-83.
 NICE (2013), Social anxiety disorder: recognition, assessment and treatment. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg159/chapter/1-Recommendations#interv… (Accessed July 2017)