"Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” Mother Teresa

08 April

The practise of Mindfulness is increasingly popular. Brought to the mainstream by Jon Kabat-Zinn, it’s being used to combat stress, anxiety, depression, pain management, eating disorders and much more. Now recommended in the NICE Clinical Guidelines for mental well-being, it’s also being applied to improve life for people with dementia and their carers.

To practice Mindfulness is to bring yourself into the present moment with non-judgemental awareness. It is to focus on breathing and bringing your mind back in connection with your body and your surroundings. A skill that many of us can use to increase well-being; it reduces worry of the future, or from focussing on past events.

Living moment to moment

Being in the present moment allows us to make the most of, and accept where we are right now. Experiencing each moment as a new and beautiful moment to be enjoyed and experienced.

With dementia, Mindfulness helps the person to stop worrying about being forgetful or confused but to focus on what they can do now and focus on breathing as a relaxation technique and a distraction.

It’s possible to teach Mindfulness to people with dementia, especially those in the early stages. It can also be applied in a dementia friendly way which means that you evaluate and adapt to how they are in that moment.

Mindfulness for Carers

It’s also good to remember, if you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, that you will also benefit from Mindfulness.

The most important thing in dealing with dementia is to relax, go with the flow and be creative and adaptable in your approach to the daily problem solving that you need to do.

Being in a relaxed state of mind will certainly help you to be all of those things. Importantly, it will help improve your sense of well-being too.

Ways you can start practising Mindfulness right now

  • Take a few moments to focus on your breathing, sense the flow of air and feel your belly rise and fall. Do this for a few moments.
  • Spend a little time noticing your senses. What do you smell and hear right now, take time to just be.
  • Letting thoughts flow. Practice allowing thoughts to flow freely through you, you don’t need to react to, or believe all of your thoughts.
  • Notice, when you are eating, the colours, textures and smell of your food. Notice the feeling and tastes as you chew.
  • Pay attention to times when you feel like you are on autopilot; bring more awareness into that activity.

Mindfulness based stress reduction can be utilised in whatever way suits the individual. When focussing on breathing, they might wish to sit in a chair, take a walk, or lie down on a bed.

Getting into the habit of this can create a sense of calm and peace, keeping the stress hormones at bay and helping to retain more of an overall good health.

Where can I learn more about Mindfulness?

Article by CarewatchCare