What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment without judgment.

This present moment awareness includes awareness of our thoughts, our feelings and what is going on around us. Although we have pre-existing levels of mindfulness, mindfulness is effectively increased through the practice of mindfulness meditation. The roots of mindfulness go back over 2,500 years. It enjoys this longevity because it makes a really positive difference to our lives.

Being more present

With mindfulness we bring attention to the only moment there ever is – this moment right now. We are here more for our lives. In this way, life becomes richer and more vibrant. We savour and appreciate more.

In being more present, we also notice things more and pick up important information – about ourselves, others, what’s going on.

“Mindfulness means waking up out of autopilot and connecting deeply with ourselves and our lives.” Melli O'Brien

We reduce stress by being more present. A key mechanism for stress includes our mind traveling to the past and ruminating, or traveling to the future and worrying. By being more present, we cut through this time travel and we cultivate greater calm.

Attention regulation

Mindfulness enables us to know where our attention is. We can then know whether our focus of attention is helpful or not. Are we focusing on what is under our control or out of our control? What aspect of experience is our attention on, eg negative or positive? What interpretation of an event is our attention on? Is our attention narrow or wide? Widening attention provides perspective and can show us new pieces of the picture or help us to develop alternative interpretations of an event. Being able to know where your attention is, to let go, to move attention elsewhere – all of this is enormously valuable. Mindfulness helps us to be more intentional with our attention.

Living with greater clarity and wisdom

From the vantage point of awareness, mindfulness helps you to see yourself, others and the world more clearly. Through this clarity we can develop insight.

We become less entangled with our thoughts and feelings. We can witness these, instead of being carried away automatically by them. Therefore we can respond to situations with conscious choice. We are less reactive. We experience a broader perspective. This enables us to develop greater emotional regulation. We recognise the mechanisms of stress and the mechanisms of ease and wellness.  And so, we are more able to make wise choices and live with greater skill.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Viktor E. Frankl

How you relate to experience

When mindful, we connect more directly with the present moment. We learn to distinguish the difference between what is actually going on and the story we are telling ourselves about what is going on.

Also we become more able to acknowledge the truth of our experience, with kindness and curiosity, rather than resist it. Resistance of ‘what is’ tends to cause difficulty.

“What you resist persists.”Carl Jung

We are more able to hold our emotions with presence and stability, and without identification with them. This enables us to meet and process emotions. Ultimately this can be healing and transformative.

When we encounter the actuality of things without judgment. This is the starting point for wise action.

You can get out of your own way

In being more mindful you become more self-aware. You are more able to see your unhelpful patterns and therefore are no longer unconsciously under their force. It’s not about forcing change or striving to be better, it’s about the liberation that occurs when you see how you’ve been getting in your own way. When you are no longer unconsciously caught up in unhelpful habits of thinking and behaviour, then you are more free to make the most of your authentic ways and strengths.

Exercising compassion

Compassion is integral to mindfulness. When mindful, we are being present without judgment. We cultivate compassion to ourselves, our experiences, others and our wider environment.

We notice more when mindful. This includes noticing the signals from our own body. In this way, we can show compassion to ourselves, by taking better care of ourselves.

Mindfulness is a way of being

Mindfulness is something which can not be fully understood conceptually. It is understood more and more as you exercise mindfulness in your work and in your life. Meditation supports the development of a natural, embodied mindfulness.

Mindfulness really needs to be lived, breathed and tested over time for a person to begin to truly sense into what it is and why it’s useful.

You can read more about the ‘whys’ of mindfulness here.

Want to find out more?

To discuss how Mindfulness Training could work in your organisation, please get in touch with me, Rachael.  Either by filling in the form on this page or calling 07876 495 968.

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