Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness and meditation for caregivers

Mindfulness is a way of learning to be present in the moment, rather than stuck in oppressive or circling thoughts about the past or the future. It's about maintaining an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

Meditation usually is about sitting more formally, focusing on our breath or body sensations. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings but learning to observe them passing by without judgment. It’s about training your mind in awareness and gaining a sense of perspective. It takes practice – people often say it's like a muscle and needs time to learn, but once a practice is established it can be extremely fulfilling – many say life-changing.

There are many online and local meditation opportunities – here are just a few:

The SriChinmoy Centre offers free meditation classes in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington year-round.

• Daily Calm is a free 10 minute guided meditation, which changes every day and has had over 20 million views. Spoken by American Tamara Levitt.

Wu Wei Wisdom is another free meditation spoken by David James Lee, a Taoist Monk – from the north of England. 

Headspace is a very popular paid phone app, which delivers a guided meditation to you every day for the price of a takeaway coffee a week or less.