Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious and aware of something. It means that you are fully present in the moment. It can also means that while you are fully present of the moment you calmly acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Mindfulness is something of a trend, a buzzword. It is almost impossible to open a magazine without finding an article on ‘How to be Mindful.’ There are apps on our smartphones about Mindfulness and we are constantly getting tips on how to be Mindful.
Is it worth all the hype? Yes, it is.
What can Mindfulness Achieve?
- Better physical and mental health.
- Pain Relief.
How to be Mindful?
You can join a meditation class, or a yoga class that includes Mindfulness and you can be taught what to do. But you can also be Mindful on your own.
Take note of these few tips
- Be aware of your own breathing. Try and slow it down and be aware of the in breath and the out breath.
- Feel the rise and fall of your belly. Place your hand on your belly.
- Breathe slowly, every time you need to centre yourself.
- Be aware of what you are doing as you do it.
- Tune in to your senses.
- If you are washing the dishes, feel the water on your hands.
- If you are eating a salad, feel it, taste it, be aware of the crispness, the flavours and the textures.
- Try and just be. Learn to relax and know you do not have to fill up your time.
- Recognise your thoughts but that is all they are.
- You do not need to react to your thoughts and you do not need to believe them.
- Be aware of when you zone out. Try and bring yourself back into the moment.
- Be present.
Have you ever driven from A to B and then wondered how you’ve got there? It happens all the time. People zone out. Their minds are so full that they are not in the moment. Make a huge effort to get back in the moment, to the here and now. If you’re driving, be aware of the road, the traffic, the scenery and the people in the car with you.
Be present in your journey
Which takes us to being present in the journey of life? Focus your attention to the now. Accept the now without judgment. Mindfulness has been looked at scientifically and the results show that being mindful is a key element to being happy.
Mindfulness is also key to good relationships. When you are with your friends, be with them. Put away your phone and put away and other thoughts or distractions. Be present. When you are with your children, or your partner, or your work colleagues – listen carefully. Look people in the eye. Lose all distractions. You will find that your relationships improve almost immediately when you are present in them.
Where did Mindfulness originate?
Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism. Saying that, most religions include some kind of prayer or meditation. Whether you are religious person or not, prayer is very grounding. It is about being quiet and aware only of the present. It shifts your thoughts away from the daily mundane towards a bigger appreciation of life. It makes you appreciate the here and now, which is exactly what Mindfulness does.
Being Mindful is not always easy. Life is busy and there are tons of distractions. People are constantly on their phones and computers, busy with mails or online games. Make an effort, even if for a short time per day, to put everything away. Be aware. Be mindful.