What is the Practice of Mindfulness?
Have you ever arrived at a destination and wondered how you actually got there? Or, absentmindedly eaten an entire bar of chocolate and sat with an empty wrapper in your hand, wondering where it went?
Well, you are not alone.
The majority of us have let autopilot take over and gone about our day mindlessly. We are a world of multi-taskers and because of that, it is easy to lose focus of the moment that we are in presently. We’re lost in a juggling act of home, work, and finances.
As humans that are not present in our own lives it is easy to miss the good things that happen in our lives, while poisoning ourselves with criticism. The human mind loves to wander.
We are easily distracted, and have a habit of examining events that occurred in the past, while anticipating the future.
The practice of mindfulness provides us a way to pay attention and see what is happening in our lives. It doesn’t eradicate the pressures of life; it simply allows us to deal with them in a calm manner.
We begin to recognize the physiological and unconscious emotional reactions that we have to every day events.
Mindfulness allows us to be present in our work, home, and lives, in order to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
According to Psychology Today, it has its roots in Buddhism and it differs from other forms of meditation, in that it isn’t designed to change you. The purpose is to teach us to be present in our lives unconditionally.
WebMD indicates that mindfulness plays a part in improving our overall wellbeing, physical and mental health.
- It supports an attitude that contributes to a satisfying life, and allows us to savor the pleasures in our lives, while keeping up fully engaged in activities and life.
- We focus on the here and now and we become less likely to worry about the past.
- Physically, it helps lower blood pressure and helps to relieve stress, which has a knock on effect to treating heart disease.
- It can be used to relieve gastrointestinal problems, while reducing chronic pain and improve sleep.
- Mentally it is frequently used for people with depression, anxiety, dealing with substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even conflicts with partners.
Experts believe that it works because it allows people to accept all of their life experiences, as opposed to brushing them off and avoiding fully dealing with them.
It is frequently used in combination with psychotherapy treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. They share a common goal, in that they both work to help patients gain perspective of their irrational, self-defeating thoughts.
There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness, but the goal is the same in all of them. Every mindfulness technique is a form of meditation.
Psychology Today gives us a lesson on mindfulness meditation, and it takes just 10 to 15 minutes out of your day.
The most basic mindfulness meditation starts with sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing.
Let your thoughts come and go, and remember: no judgement. Take time to notice body sensations, whether it’s a passing breeze, or a tingle, and note each part of your body in sequence, from head to toe.
As you notice different sounds, smells, sights, touches, and tastes silently name it, and then let them go.
Allow your emotions without judgement simply name each emotion as you feel it and let it go.
If you’re dealing with addictive behaviors then as the craving enters, replace it with the knowledge that it will pass, and let it go.