“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment.” ~ Jon Kanat-Zinn
Mindfulness is being alive and totally in the present moment. So often people are looking back at the past or worrying about the future and not appreciating the here and now. Mindfulness is an excellent tool for reducing stress and the challenges of everyday life. It is not about emptying your mind of thoughts but more about observing how you think and feel. By practicing mindfulness, you can change the way you manage and react to situations.
Mindfulness is easy to do and like anything else, it gets easier with practice. It offers the ability to shift your mind to wherever you want it to go, rather than have it bounce randomly all over the place.
Mindfulness is the informal practice of being aware of the present moment, and applied to any waking situation. It is being completely aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. Try focusing completely on the full experience of a usually “mindless” chore such as having a shower. Be aware of the temperature of the water and how it makes your skin feel, along with the texture and smell of the soap. Engage all five senses and see if you are more relaxed and less stressed when you have finished.
When unawareness dominates the mind, all our decisions and actions are affected. How often have you walked or driven somewhere, only to wonder how you got there because your mind went on autopilot, checking into the past or the future (both of which you have no control over)? In fact, most of the things we do throughout the day are on ‘auto-pilot’: eating meals without fully tasting the food, showering without noticing the feeling of the water. Society’s obsession with multitasking often leads us to do too much at once, without focusing fully on each stage of the experience.
Lack of awareness also prevents us from listening to our bodies when they need nutrition, rest, exercise, or hydration. Mindfulness teaches us to listen to our bodies much more.
When practicing mindfulness, the mind is not guessing at the future or creating a mountain out of a molehill. We can deliberately observe thoughts and let them go without consciously labelling or putting an opinion on it.
Living mindfully means that we experience life with a “beginner’s mind.” Listen to people with full attention to their words, voice, and feelings – listen as though it were the first time you ever met this person or heard them speak, without guessing, judging, or waiting for it to be your turn to talk.
Mindful listening improves our relationships because listening with patience, trust, acceptance, and an open mind strengthens our ability to communicate. Mindfulness teaches us to respond rather than react, instead of a quick-fire response a moment is taken to think things through.
There are many ways of practicing mindfulness – it can be formally through yoga, tai chi, guided meditations or informally through breathing exercises at different times throughout the day and really being present in the moment as we go about our daily lives.
I teach mindfulness to schools, groups and businesses, feel free to get in touch to discuss your needs.