What is Mindfulness?
Devised by Buddhists as part of their Noble Eightfold Path and a core component of Hatha yoga, mindfulness is a self-development technique that has become increasingly popular over recent years. The practice focuses on a mind-body connection and therefore has a mental and physical aspect.
Mindfulness is simply described as the practice of living in the moment with full awareness while letting go of judgment. Being mindful can have health benefits on a psychological level. But, before delving into that, first, let’s find out how mindfulness works.
How Mindfulness Works
Mindfulness centers on the art of meditation. You can meditate while engaging in walking, tai chi, qigong, and hatha yoga–informal meditation. Or while remaining in a still seated position–a formal meditation practice. During the formal meditation process, you can recite a mantra or stay quiet while focusing on your breathing. And during informal mindfulness meditation, you are guiding your full attention to the activity you are engaging with.
The key to cultivating mindfulness is blocking out thoughts about the past or future and paying attention to what is happening in the body, or whatever you choose to engage with. When thoughts wander, return to a mindful state by focusing on the breath or a mantra you are repeatedly reciting. The process is called the repeating cycle of mindfulness using a self-directed focus.
One can learn to easily apply mindfulness in everyday life with 10 to 15 minutes daily and gradually extend the practice. For example, a mindful person can work toward being non-judgmental by identifying prejudices in personal thoughts and trying to replace them with an impartial perspective. I recommend using a journal of your choice for this practice. Through mindfulness, it is also possible to create space between a stressful situation and yourself and choose how to respond. Taking a step back from negative thoughts helps you to observe them more objectively.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation has many health benefits. It helps you relax and clear your mind while slowing down your heart rate, thoughts, and anxiety. Taking a few minutes of your time to practice this technique daily can help you to reduce stress.
When we are mindful, we healthily deal with emotions. Understanding and managing emotions by altering our habitual responses and deciding how to act is essential. In doing so, we learn more about our thinking process and can label emotions and thoughts instead of letting them dictate and overpower our behavior.
Besides easing stress and helping people become more aware of emotions and thoughts, mindfulness can help you to:
- Become more emotionally stable
- Keep anxiety and depression at bay
- Improve memory, focus, and sleep
- Reduce feelings of anger and moodiness
- Enhance self-awareness, fear modulation, and intuition
How to Bring Mindfulness Practices into Everyday Life
The only way to cultivate mindfulness is through practice.
Because it is indeed the journey and adventure of a life lived fully. It needs to be experienced so you know it, be able to navigate within it and benefit from its unique gifts.
That direct experience is nothing less than the unique adventure of your life unfolding moment by moment, starting now, where you already are, wherever that is, however complex or challenging your situation.
Learning how to…
- suspend all your doing and nurture calmness and self-acceptance in yourself,
- observe what your mind is up to from moment to moment,
- watch your thoughts and how to let go of those thoughts without getting stuck with and driven by them,
- make room for new ways of seeing old problems and challenges and for perceiving the inter-connectedness of things
… these are some of the lessons of mindfulness.
That kind of learning involves turning toward and embracing moments of being and simply cultivating mindfulness.
When we start paying attention a little more closely to how our mind works, as we do when we meditate, we are likely to find that much of the time, our mind is more in the past or the future than it is in the present.
Learn The Fundamentals Of Mindfulness To Widen Your Attention And Expand Your Awareness
During this 76-minute Workshop, I will guide you through the foundations of mindfulness and how to apply the practice of mindfulness and meditation in your everyday life in less than 15 minutes a day. You’ll also be able to practice with me and receive tips and resources to continue your practice if you choose.