What is Mindfulness?
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Do you enjoy your life or let the pressures of everyday life take over your life? Or, in other words, how attentive are you?
It is believed that mindfulness practices are associated with happiness, health, and well-being. However, many of us are not aware of it or how to practice it.
Mindfulness is the fundamental human ability to be present, conscious of our place and what we’re up to, and not be overly distracted or triggered by what’s happening around us.
Although mindfulness is innate, it’s much more accessible to us when we practice every day.
Mindfulness is the act of maintaining a present-day consciousness of our thought processes, emotions, body sensations and the surrounding environment by using a soft, caring lens.
Mindfulness is also about acceptance, which means that we observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment, and without believing that there’s a “right” or “wrong” method to think or feel at a particular moment.
When you practice mindfulness, your thoughts focus on the feelings you’re experiencing at the moment. It allows us to control our thoughts about reliving the past or thinking about the future.
It is rooted in Buddhist meditation, and practice has become a part of the American mainstream over the past few decades. The credit is largely attributed to Jon Kabat Zinn’s efforts and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, introduced at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979.
After that, many studies have been conducted to prove the mental and physical benefits of mindfulness for health in general and MBSR in particular, which has prompted numerous programs to adapt the MBSR model to schools, hospitals, prisons, and veterans centers.
Mindfulness helps us in developing important soft skills
Mindfulness can benefit our minds:
Several studies have revealed that mindfulness boosts positive feelings while decreasing stress and negative emotions. At least one study suggests that it may be as effective as antidepressants when fighting depression and stopping recrudescence.
Mindfulness aids us in focusing:
Research suggests that mindfulness can help us stay focused and boosts our attention and memory skills and the ability to make decisions.
Mindfulness increases compassion and altruism.
Research suggests that mindfulness training can increase our chances of assisting people in need. It also boosts neural activity involved in understanding the pain of others and regulating our emotions. Research suggests that it can improve self-compassion, too.
Our mindfulness influences the way we think about ourselves. Mindful people feel more confident and behave more in line with their beliefs. They also may have a better image of themselves, more positive self-esteem and greater resilience towards negative criticism.
Mindfulness is beneficial for businesses:
Mindfulness training can boost confidence in leaders, increase their creativity, decrease multitasking and increase satisfaction.
How do I cultivate It?
Jon Kabat Zenn stresses that even though mindfulness can be developed through formal meditation, it’s not the only option. “It’s not just about sitting in the complete lotus or pretending to be an idol amid a British museum,” he says, “It’s the act of living as though everything was important, every moment.”
Here are some of the key elements of mindfulness practice that Kabat-Zinn, as well as others, have identified:
Be attentive to your breathing, especially if you’re feeling emotional.
Pay attention to what you’re noticing at any given moment. Notice the sights and sounds and smells that normally pass through your mind without ever reaching awareness.
Be aware that your thoughts and feelings are fleeting, and they do not make you who you are, an understanding that will free you from the negative thoughts that plague you.
Be aware of the physical sensations your body is experiencing, from the way water hits your skin during the shower to how your body feels when you sit at your workstation.
Discover “micro-moments” of calm to restore your attention and a sense of purpose throughout the day.
To improve these skills in the real world, take on these exercises from Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR program as well as other places:
Mindfulness breathing is a popular part of a variety of meditation that requires paying attention to the physical and emotional sensations that accompany breathing as it flows through(in and out).
A body scan is a different method of focusing on the various areas of your body, from head to toe.
The raisin exercise is where you gradually use all your senses once a time to look at the raisin in a detailed way. The way from how it feels when you hold it to how its flavor is a blast onto your tongue. This exercise will aid in focusing on the present moment and can be done with different food items.
Walking meditation is a practice where you concentrate on the motion of your body as you go step after step, with your feet touching before leaving the ground. It’s a routine activity that we tend to overlook. This type of exercise is typically practiced by moving back and forth on the path for ten paces; however, you can do it on all paths.
Try these exercises, and be aware that different mindfulness techniques offer distinct advantages. It could take some trial and error to discover the suitable method for you.
Many organizations, including hospitals, companies, and schools, realize that mindfulness training can be extremely beneficial for their employees and their customers.
Experience the many advantages of mindfulness by simply spending a few moments to slow your breathing and paying attention to your surroundings’ smallest details.