Maybe you have seen some talk about mindfulness, or perhaps this is the very first article that you will ever read about it. Either way, the intention of this post is to introduce mindfulness and discuss some of the basics.
So, what exactly is Mindfulness?
Simply put, Mindfulness is being present in the current moment.
In mindfulness practice, you are literally just practicing “being here now”.
Mindfulness is the non-judging awareness that stems from paying attention on purpose, in the current moment.
Mindfulness allows us to calm the tumultuous sea of thoughts, and cultivate calm in the midst of the waves.
Why should you give a shit about mindfulness? Mindfulness invites the opportunity to truly get to know yourself, and through that process, we are able to be more available to our loved ones.
Becoming more mindful of your body’s sensations, and of your emotions, aides in paving the road to improved emotional and physical health. The mindfulness journey teaches to observe our thoughts and release them without any judgement. Mindfulness can be practiced at any time, anywhere, anyplace.
Traditional mindful practices can include meditation, body scan, yoga and walking meditation ( click here to see my post Mindful Meditation Practices for People who can’t sit still for some more about these practices), however, you can focus your attention on the present at any moment.
Turning everyday tasks into a mindful experience can boost your mood and make a seemingly daunting task into a calming, and “meditative like“ experience.
For example- rather than huffing and puffing because the carpet needs to be vacuumed again, tune in and use that as a moment to yourself (yes, you can actually turn to the vacuum for some”you” time)
-Notice the back and forth movement involved, or maybe turn your awareness to the feelings occurring in your arm during this movement .
Perhaps you prefer to note the length and symmetry of each vacuum line.
Once complete, you may want to pause, and feel gratitude for your newly cleaned carpet. This is just one example of something that is normally considered a pain in the ass, but with mindfulness incorporated, it can be a fulfilling and calming experience.
This may all sound completely berserk to you right now, and that is OK! As I have mentioned before- mindfulness is a practice. After a while, your ability to turn even to most annoying of tasks into a mindful and perhaps even pleasant experience will be an important tool for creating a more peaceful existence.
Another awesome benefit of cultivating mindfulness is, when we are mindful of our actions and movements, we lessen the risks for injury that may occur as a result of moving to quickly or mindlessly.
Clumsy anyone? When you start paying attention on purpose, you may even be able to rid yourself of your “2 left feet”
Mindfulness has also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, depression, stress and pain. Studies of patients at the Mindful Based Stress reduction clinic, at the University of Massachusetts, documented marked improvement in patients who approached their 8 week MBSR treatment program with an open and curious mind.
Move Toward Greater Balance, Control, and Participation in Your Life
For now I am going to simply leave you with this list of 7, but stay tuned as I plan to break these down in another post in the near future.
To summarize, if you are anything like I was and are really just looking for a way to be more focused, present and/or grounded , while lessening anxious, irritable, and/or irrational behaviors , mindfulness may be just the journey you are looking for. For a deeper dive into mindfulness, have a look at some of my book recommendations as well as my last post:
Click here to check out this post