National Stress Awareness Month

Today marks the beginning of April and the start of Stress Awareness Month. In light of this, Approach PR MD Suzanne’s daughter Melissa takes a look at one of the biggest buzzwords in the world of de-stress self-help techniques – mindfulness.

Mindfulness

In the wealth of social media influencers and wellness experts who have flooded our phones increasingly in recent years, few fail to champion the art of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique which involves focusing your awareness on the present moment. This is supposed to reduce stress and improve your mental resilience. It dates back to 400BC – being far from a newfound craze!

However, it’s made an undeniably dramatic resurgence over the past few years. The popularity of apps promoting mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, has skyrocketed with Apple pegging self-care as one of its top 4 breakout trends for 2017.

So why, in this self-care aware world, are we arguably the least mindful society in history?

The definition of mindfulness is ‘focusing one’s awareness on the present moment’. But, we couldn’t be straying further from this stress-busting path. With the increasing popularity of smart technology, we rarely spend any time alone with ourselves. The entire premise of an online community is that you carry all your ‘friends’ around in your pocket. Moments previously occupied by quietness, such as walking home, are drowned out by music and podcasts to keep our minds forever entertained.

What affect has social media had?

Social media has brought with it an onslaught of new stresses avoided by previous generations. For example, maintaining an image and persona in the moments we used to spend alone. Closing the door of your home used to mean closing off the outside world. Now, the outside world occupies every room of our house as we engage with it even when our social day is done. And with our constant availability, we now invite people into the previously private aspects of our lives. We often talk online as well as in person, thereby doubling our social responsibilities.

YouGov found that 55% of people checked their phones during mealtimes and 65% used them in bed. 20% of people even went as far as saying they couldn’t go two hours without checking their phone. We occupy our minds for every portion of the day, often overloading them by trying to maintain an online presence and a real life one. Sometimes even causing physical overlaps where we are participating in activity online and offline simultaneously. We couldn’t be further from ‘focussing our minds in the present moment’. Our minds are split between several moments often operating in entirely separate worlds.

How can we de-stress?

Therefore, is there any wonder ‘mindfulness’ has exploded back onto the wellbeing scene. In an age of non-stop mental stimulation, we are craving those moments of quiet so often taken for granted in the eras before us. It can seem impossible for us to stop when we exist in an inescapable online world, causing 74% of UK adults to report having felt so stressed at some points in 2018 they felt unable to cope. So maybe it’s time to embrace the wave of mindfulness currently sweeping the world. It’s good to engage in techniques such as meditation and yoga to give our minds the break they need to function effectively. And perhaps when you close the door on your home, try closing it online too. Take back control over the time that is rightfully yours.

What are your best tips for combating stress? We want to know your thoughts, let us know at @Approach_pr!