Why are Londoners more likely to practice mindfulness than any other city in the UK?
London, one of the busiest cities known to the world. The bustling metropolis is full of individuals whose lives have never been more intense, more busy, and more stressful. So how can mindfulness be so popular here?
To truly understand how the busiest city in the United Kingdom can be mindful, we need to understand what mindfulness actually means. According to the Greater Good Magazine, mindfulness means “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.” Another key aspect to truly understand mindfulness, is the practice of being aware of all these things, without holding any judgement. You are coming from a place of observation, not judgement and there is no “right or wrong way to think or feel in a given moment.”
There are three key aspects to remember when looking at mindfulness.
One must be willing to cultivate awareness of their surroundings, thoughts, and emotions, and return to it when awareness is lost. This leads onto attention to what is occurring in the present moment – the observation of said surroundings, thoughts, emotions and also feelings. Finally, this must all be done in a non-judgmental and kind way.
The Stressors for Londoners:
There are a several things that will spring to all of our minds when we think of the stressful things about living in London. The cramped commutes that rarely get you to where you need to be on time… You can be sure to see social media booming with angry complaints about the latest railway problems. Then you have the work. The capital has the highest rate of anxiety in the UK. It is well known that young professionals come to work in London, with the idea of retiring far away from the stressful city. This is due to the demanding work culture that London boasts. You will also be familiar with some of the other stressors for Londoners, these include the crime rates, the politics and finally, the cost of living. All these aspects of life make London the most stressful city to live in the United Kingdom. In fact, according to the Centre of Urban Design and Mental Health, “city dwellers have an almost 40% higher risk of depression, over 20% more anxiety, in addition to more loneliness, isolation and stress.”
The Importance of Mindfulness for Londoners:
The city dwellers of London recognise the importance of working hard, but it appears they are also increasingly beginning to understand the importance of hitting the pause button on their lives. Mindfulness is the go-to practice for finding headspace in the modern world, but mindfulness in practice has a different meaning for every one of us. To one person, it can be going for a quite walk or a relaxing book, to another, it can be meditation or candle meditation.
Mindfulness is good for our bodies, our minds and a whole host of other things that can truly benefit our daily lives. It is known to increase positivity, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, further to that, it can even boost our immunity! That is why it is vitally important for the population of London.
The crowded city makes for the perfect breeding ground for illness. Combine that with the daily tube journey, and you are at risk of illness. Stressful and high intensity work environments lead to high levels of anxiety, stress, and sometimes depression. These things alone show you how much practicing mindfulness can support individual. And this is something the city is well aware of. From a 2018 research piece by Mintel, 32% of Londoners learnt mindfulness practices. This trend has only grown since then with meditation studios, mindfulness centres, courses and online support groups popping up through the city.
What next for Mindfulness in London:
Mindfulness in London is both popular and essential. One thing that is key is education. Not your standard curriculum, something slightly deeper. Having only come across mindfulness practice in my 20’s, I feel as though I was unaware of the value of mindfulness, through many troubled times. I am not alone in this. In fact, according to a report by Metal Health UK, “young people aged 18–34 (60%) are more likely to find it difficult to relax than older people aged 55 or over (43%).
Learning how to take time away from your busy lifestyle is therefore extremely valuable for the world we live in today. It is clear that is a popular area for Londoners, and they are actively seeking ways to relax, unwind, slow down and be mindful in their daily lives. There are many places in London, and in other cities of the UK, where you can find time to relax for yourself. The magazine Time Out can help you find some amazing places to help you feel calm in London.
In the modern world we live in, the options to practice mindfulness are vast. It is no longer such a mystery and you do not have to stick to your standard meditation techniques. Mindfulness is unique to the individual and therefore, the individual must find out what works best for them. Here are a few examples for all levels you can try out today:
- Breathing Exercises
- Candle Meditation
- Body Scanning
- Thought Observation
The important thing to remember is that this is non-judgemental observation and awareness. The emotions, thoughts and feelings that come in and out of your mind should not be pushed away or attracted. There should be no conflict in your mind, no judgement, only awareness and observation. With regular practice, you will begin to see newfound energy and calm in your life.
So, while mindfulness is the most popular in London, it would not take much to turn the tables and bring the rest of the UK level. Our aim at Handmade Minds is to spread this message and to give the world “the gift of presence”. Let’s spread the message and fight for our wellbeing.