Mindfulness

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." Buddha

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What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, you just have to learn how to access it.

 

“Mindfulness in its most general sense is about waking up from a life on automatic, and being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences… Instead of being on automatic and mindless, mindfulness helps us awaken, and by reflecting on the mind we are enabled to make choices and thus change becomes possible.” (Daniel J. Siegel, Hampton, 2014).

 

“Mindfulness isn’t just about knowing that you’re hearing something, seeing something, or even observing that you’re having a particular feeling. It’s about doing so in a certain way—with balance and equanimity, and without judgment. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a way that creates space for insight” (Sharon Salzberg, 2015).

“Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and others.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.” (Sylvia Boorstein)

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

The Types of Mindfulness Practice

While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques. Here are some examples:

  1. Seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation;
  2. Short pauses we insert into everyday life;
  3. Merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.

The Benefits of Mindfulness Practice:

When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.

  • Reduced Stress: Improved ability to manage stress
  • Increased Focus: Improved ability to pay attention, focus and concentrate
  • Improved Emotion Regulation: Reduced impulsiveness, improved child behaviour (rowdiness, suspensions, expulsions)
  • Increased Emotional Intelligence: Improved conflict resolution skills
  • Increased Empathy and Respect: Increased empathy and understanding of others
  • Increased Resilience: Increased capacity to overcome challenges
  • Improved Physical Well-being: Increased engagement in physical activity
  • Improved Creativity & Collaboration: Improved expression of creative arts.
  • Being mindful can help us manage our emotions and feelings in stressful situations;
  • Through practice, we can learn to decenter from negative ‘ways of being’ and free our minds;
  • Mindfulness practice allows us to step back and accept our own mental processes without judgment;
  • It can help us to cope with feelings of anxiety, and even depression;
  • Mindfulness practice in everyday life can lead us to really savor experiences with new perspectives;
  • Practicing mindfulness in relationships can help us listen better, appreciate others more, and get along at work;
  • Research suggests that mindfulness helps us in attentional processes;
  • We may even be able to manage physical pain using mindfulness;
  • Mindfulness practice helps us not to react instantly with emotion;
  • We can become more aware of how we practice self-compassion; and
  • Being mindful may assist our attempts to build resilience.
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