This simple practice will change your life
What is Mindfulness?
In today’s world, modern technology and the never-ending sources of new information have accelerated our pace of living.
Life is so much more complex with many of us glued to our smartphones and always being distracted by the demands of something, be it TV, social media, instant messaging or emails.
We are bombarded with negative news and views, our brains and lives have become overwhelmed with the onslaught of information leaving us susceptible to impatience, frustration, worry, panic and self-judgement.
It’s no surprise that as we continue to move further into this technological era there has been a rise in prescription medication for our pains, stresses, depression and anxiety, there are pills for everything nowadays.
While some medications are essential for our health and wellbeing, it is vital that we maximise our inner resources to sustain and improve our health. This is where Mindfulness comes in…
Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, and can be applied to any situation in our lives. It has been described as simply observing, watching, or examining.
Simply put, mindfulness is a practice of developing our awareness in everyday life.
Where did it come from?
Historically, being present and mindful has been an important concept of many spiritual traditions, rooted in ancient Buddhist meditative practices. Aspects of mindfulness have also been present in modern Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, and some Indigenous ways of life.
Who is it for?
Today, mindfulness has surpassed its spiritual roots and into the world of psychology, mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing. The benefits of mindfulness have truly entered the mainstream with online access and apps allowing people to practice on the go. Successful companies such as Google, Nike and Apple even integrate mindfulness into their employee training.
By developing our awareness, we can maximise our life experiences even during times of stress, illness or pain, mindfulness can help to decrease suffering and support a greater sense of happiness, balance and peace.
If you’re feeling or have felt any signs or symptoms of stress, such as anxiety, irritability, overworking, substance abuse, smoking, eating problems, muscle tension, burnout, apathy, restlessness, headaches, fatigue, stomach distress, difficulty concentrating, worrying, poor sleep, or feeling overwhelmed mindfulness can help you!
How can it help?
Mindfulness has a nurturing and transformative effect on our lives. Some of the greatest benefits of mindfulness come from examining your mind and mental processes, then observing them objectively. This allows greater insight into habitual ways of thinking and has a great power to alleviate stress and suffering.
Paying attention to our mind and thoughts is of the upmost importance. It is often said that:
Our intentions are the cause of all actions.
Our intentions shape our thoughts, words and what we do.
This suggests that our minds, through our intentions and thoughts, are the creators of our performance, success, happiness, and unhappiness. By helping you begin to recognise your intentions, thinking habits and other ingrained behaviours, mindfulness can play a significant role in enhancing your psychological and physical wellbeing.
How do I practice it?
Mindfulness is a way of learning how to relate directly to your life. Because it’s about your life, no one else can do it for you or tell you exactly how you should do it. Fortunately, it is not something you have to get or acquire. You already have the ability to be mindful within you; it’s simply a matter of being present. In actual fact, in the very moment you recognise that you aren’t present, you’ve become mindful.
Mindfulness is essentially a way of life and can be practiced in two ways – formally and informally.
Formal practice is when you take time out during your day to sit, stand or lie and focus. This focus may be on your breath, sounds, body sensations, thoughts, emotions or other senses.
Informal practice involves bringing mindful awareness into our daily activities such as work, eating, exercising or chores. You can apply informal mindfulness to basically any of your actions no matter where you are.
In overcoming difficulty, we often hear the phrase “Take one day at a time.” Mindfulness goes even further, encouraging you to take one moment at a time. Since we are only ever living in the present, we should always strive to be there and be present in that moment.
It is easy to become consumed with anticipation of the future or contemplation of the past, but as you become more mindful of your thoughts, emotions, sensations and mental processes you can start to perform better in all aspects of your life.
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