- 12 Sep - 18 Sep, 2020
MINDFULNESS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
- 04 Apr - 10 Apr, 2020
- health & nutrition
t’s a busy world. You fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. You plan your day while listening to the radio and commuting to work, and then plan your weekend. But in the rush to accomplish necessary tasks, you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment – missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Did you notice whether you felt well-rested this morning or that forsythia is in bloom along your route to work?
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.
The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
Benefits of mindfulness
The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of prayer or meditation technique that helps shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.
Science actually suggests that the benefits of mindfulness-based meditation can be phenomenal. Here are some amazing benefits of mindfulness you should know about.
Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life. Being mindful makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Techniques to practice
There is more than one way but the goal of any technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All techniques are a form of meditation.
Basic mindfulness meditation
Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return your focus on breathing or your mantra.
Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without pushing too much thought and let them go.
Allow emotions to be present. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.”
Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviours) and allow them to pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.
Some of the most popular ideas about mindfulness are just plain wrong. When you begin to practice it, you may find the experience quite different than what you expected. There is a good chance you will be pleasantly surprised. Here are five things that people get wrong about mindfulness:
• Mindfulness isn’t about “fixing” you.
• It is not about stopping your thoughts.
• The practice does not belong to a religion.
• It is not an escape from reality.
• Mindfulness is not a panacea.
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