11 Apr 101 Mindfulness Explained
According to the dictionary mind·ful·ness [mahynd-fuh l-nis] is a noun with the 2 following interpretations:
- The state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.
- a) Technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them
- Mental state maintained by the use of this technique.
These 2 definitions are simple and straightforward, which is not the norm in the dictionary. You have to love how very deep concepts can be boiled to a couple of clear lines. Simplicity is the answer most times.
What does Mindfulness actually mean?
Though Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years.Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present and experiencing life the way it actually happens by being aware of where we are and what we’re doing at the moment rather than getting distracted by rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Mindfulness involves acceptance, by observing without criticism, without Judging or believing that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to think and feel at any given moment. A key component is being compassionate with yourself and others.
“When we are mindless, we are like programmed automatons, treating information in a single-minded and rigid way, as though it were true regardless of the circumstances. When we are mindful, we are open to surprise, oriented in the present moment, sensitive to context, and above all, liberated from the tyranny of old mindsets” Langer, Ellen
“Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and others.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Keys to mindfulness:
- Focus on the present moment
- Try not to think what went on in the past or that might be coming up in future
- Purposefully concentrate on what’s happening around
- Acceptance and not judgmental about anything they notice, or label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’
- It is both a daily habit and a lifelong process. This state can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training
Why Practice Mindfulness? – The Benefits
More and more research is legitimizing the practice, demonstrating that it may be an extremely effective intervention for a wide range of physical and mental health problems. Research suggests that mindfulness practices offer psychotherapists a way to positively affect aspects of therapy that account for successful treatment.
- Health; pain management, anxiety, and stress relief handle and eliminating depression symptoms & rumination, increased immune functioning
- Increased productivity: more focus, suppress distractions and better working memory capacity, information processing speed
- Overcoming addictions,
- Avoiding burnout
- Enhanced potential as we grow older
- Emotions regulation: shifts people’s ability to use emotion regulation strategies in a way that enables them to experience emotion selectively. Causing less shock and undesired responses to the environment. (less emotional reactivity)
- Cognitive Flexibility: develop the skill of self-observation
- Relationship satisfaction: the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one’s emotions to a partner. Promotes empathy, compassion, counseling skills,
- Other Benefits: self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation
Do you need more to see the value on putting some time into developing at least a few mindful practices? If you are ready to start to keep reading…
How to develop A Mindful practice
Mindfulness is enjoyable, not work or effort, but as anything it takes some getting used to, practice and consistency to be able to make a habit out of the following practices. We will deepen into each of the following practices in further posts, but below is a short list of activities that might help you get started. I ordered them in terms of “how long they take” and how easy it is to get proficient and include them in your daily life.
- Conscious Breathing: Take a minute to recognize that you are breathing in/out. Feel and follow your breath and concentrate on what your body is feeling at the moment.
- Enjoy and taste; next time to have a coffee, a fruit, a shower. While practicing any little experience try to acknowledge what is happening and what sensations it is waking up. For example, is the water hot? How does it smell? Is it salty? Does it produce a relief sensation? Does it want to make your breath deeper? Etc.. It is great if you have a paper on your side and take notes. It makes the experience even more conscious.
- Easy daily rituals; when you wake up in the morning just seat and enjoy it for a couple of mins, hear the coffee brewing, stretch and feel your body. Brush your teeth thinking about your teeth instead of the day ahead, wait to get that podcast or the news on, give yourself another 2 mins to re-connect with the world. If you are washing dishes, like with the teeth, just acknowledge the activity. Do not make it a bridge between eating and watching tv, recognize its value and its moment.
- Go outside, nature is the greatest grounding and peacefulness provider. Walk barefoot, hug a plant, work in the garden
- Be creative, art, dance, music, writing are all expressions of our emotions and are great liberators. It is a great way of “letting go” and finding quiet time for your mind.
- Move your body, practice yoga, run or any other activity that resonates with you. Exercise helps you connect with your body.
- Meditate, start with easy short meditations and visualizations. Plenty of those on the internet and youtube. They will quiet your mind and help you bring yourself to the now. Additionally, with practice, you will start getting more insight into yourself and all sorts of good stuff we will talk later about.
- Practice forgiveness and gratefulness. One helps you to let go of the past and the other shows you the good and positive in your life at present. It forces you to recognize the good.
There are hundreds of activities we can do to start our “mindful” practice, the key concepts here are “AWARENESS” and “BE PRESENT”. The only thing these 2 mean is to pay attention to what you are doing. As long as you focus any activity can be the first step towards mindfulness from a deep 45 min meditation to taking a shower. Everything counts, and if your mind goes for a little road trip to the future or the past don’t chastise yourself, just acknowledge what is going on, watch your thoughts and command you mind sweetly to comeback.
I hope this helps and feel free to e-mail me at[email protected]
#Mindfulness #Mindful #wellness #holistic #holisticlifestyle