Mindfulness it is the buzz word of the decade we hear it often, there are books on it studies and research about it and the effects it has on the individual along with numerous websites devoted to mindfulness and meditation. Research on mindfulness have shown numerous benefits physically, mentally and emotionally, from reduction stress and the related hormones, to an increase in focus and happiness.
So what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the moment without judgment or distraction, to be focused and fully engaged in what we are doing, aware of our thoughts and feelings without becoming caught up in them. This awareness of our inner thoughts and feelings without judgement takes practice, as with any skill, it needs to be cultivated to develop the ability to be present throughout our day, every day.
How to practice mindfulness
The easiest way to start the practice of mindfulness is through meditation, this will allow us to more fully understand the meaning of mindfulness and build the skill required to incorporate it into our daily life. There are many ways to learn to meditate either through a course at a yoga or meditation centre or on line. With many of us in self-isolation an on line course is possibly the easiest option. Meditation allows us to understand how to achieve that focus and help create the ability to witness any thoughts and emotions that may come up without becoming immersed within them and creating stories or overthinking. With practice the skill will develop and become a part of everyday activities allowing full appreciation of the environment and our place within it.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness.
There have now been many studies on mindfulness and the effects it has on the brain, body and emotions. With regular practice of being present, we are teaching ourselves be more aware, of ourselves, our emotions as well as those around us. With this we become less reactive to challenging situations. It won’t eliminate stress, unpleasant thoughts or emotions. However, it will enable us to have more choice in how we handle any difficulties that arise, giving a greater opportunity to respond in more positive way. With regular practice mindfulness has the ability to reduce stress, sadness and aggression and increase levels of happiness, patience compassion and acceptance.