Mindfulness, Meditation and Travel


Mindful Travelling

You may not be aware of it, but when you travel and see new places there is a high chance you might be practicing Mindfulness. That feeling you get, for example, when you reach the peak of a hike and look out to the panoramic view of a new horizon, being in awe of the spacious surroundings, taking in the sights and sounds of the moment. When your train of thought, your reflection or preoccupation of past or future events just stops and you’re just in the present moment. When the only thing existing in that moment is just the experience. 

Mindfulness, derived originally from Buddhist practice and tradition, is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, and acknowledging and accepting sensations, thoughts and feelings as they are.  Meditation is the disciplined sitting practice of being mindful for a set period of time, anchoring oneself in the present moment using various techniques, the commonest being focused on bodily sensations such as the breath.

Mindfulness is commonly used by psychologists as a treatment tool for depression and anxiety, but it is also used by elite athletes and sports psychologist (staying in the moment and not “choking” in high pressured events from having unhelpful thoughts).  There is a growing body of evidence in the scientific community that suggests the helpful benefits of mindfulness are far reaching and can help people with issues such as overeating, mental performance, relationships and mental health disorders.  In a travel context, mindfulness can possibly help with fear of flying, sleep disturbance and general commuting.  

There are many apps emerging on smartphones and smart devices that can introduce you to the practice of mindfulness and meditation and they are proving to be very popular and useful (Examples include Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Smiling Mind).  Have a browse at them the next time you travel, or anytime for that matter; have an open mind and give it a go.  You never know what positive benefits may happen to you.

Dr Fauzie Le Duc
Hinterland Medical Centre
Nerang, Gold Coast

 

 

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