Skip main navigation

What is mindfulness?

Stress manifests in everyone’s bodies differently. Mindfulness exercises can help clear your mind and help you feel more relaxed

Stress and difficult times affect our mind and body, and stress manifests in everyone’s bodies differently. Practising mindfulness every day will help you to stay well and will help when you are feeling overwhelmed.


Mindfulness exercises can help clear your mind and support you to feel more relaxed in your body.

Mindfulness practice has been shown through research to increase the connections between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, which are two parts of your brain that help to self-regulate negative emotion in distress. Both parts help us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover better from unwanted stress when we experience it.

The goal of any mindfulness activity is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness exercises don’t have to be static, you can find a state of mindfulness by doing everyday activities, such as running, gardening, swimming and being outside in nature.

Remember to check in with yourself after practising mindfulness exercises. You could keep a journal and jot down how you feel after you practice mindfulness exercises.

Social support

Sometimes when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or down, it can affect your ability to get support when you need it.

Friends and family that provide you with support are really important during difficult and uncertain times. People tend to cope better when they have good social support networks (in other words, friends, family members, community or religious groups, mental health support groups and so on, who offer care and support).

A person does not necessarily need many social supports, but they need someone they trust who is helpful and understands their needs.

Here are a few ways to seek social support in your community:

  • Having a friend or family member listen and validate your concerns and emotions.
  • Connecting with an agency that is providing needed and appropriate information and support.
  • Getting help to complete a challenging task.

Responding to problems

It’s common during difficult and uncertain times to have a hard time responding to various problems that arise in your life.

The STOP-THINK-GO method is a great way to work through those problems by breaking them down into smaller parts and focusing on what can be changed. You can make this a fun activity by getting creative with sharing the technique with loved ones!

Think of this advice as your own self-care ‘toolbox’, which is specific and tailored to YOU! Put this toolbox in a visual place to remind yourself of all the tools you have to take care of yourself and stay well.

This article is from the free online

Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now