Mindfulness is a life skill which can deepen our sense of well-being and fulfilment. It involves paying attention to what is occurring in our present moment experience, with an attitude of openness and non-judgemental acceptance. It engages all of our senses as we open to our entire experience, becoming aware of our body, emotions, thoughts and external environment.
Mindfulness is the opposite of mindlessness.
It means waking up out of autopilot and “taking the steering wheel” of our attention again.
Jon Kabat Zinn defines mindfulness as: “Paying attention; On purpose; In the present moment; and Non-judgementally.”
I like this definition because it allows us to see exactly what the component of mindfulness are. Through this definition, Zinn shows us that there are three specific ways in which our attention “shifts gears” when we practice Mindfulness.
Firstly, our attention is held on purpose.
Secondly, our attention is immersed in the present moment.
And third, our attention is held non-judgementally.
During our stressful lives, our attention is usually dispersed. We are usually busy juggling a number of tasks and pre-occupations at the same time, and none of our actions or thoughts receives our full attention. This is our ordinary state of mind and not exactly a peaceful one. We can spend a good part of our lives like this, not being fully present and therefore missing most of the moments in which we live.
When we get in touch with qualities of mindfulness, we will feel a sense of coming back home to ourselves in a more meaningful way. Mindfulness is not just about having more blissful moments, it is about being more fully present in our lives, remaining curious, embracing all of our experiences.
How do you practice Mindfulness?
There are two forms of mindfulness practice – Formal and Informal.
Formal practice is commonly referred to as meditation.
Informal practice is anything we do in daily life with full awareness can be said to be mindfulness practice.
Benefits of Practising Mindfulness
- Mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety and other destructive emotions.
- It reduces depression and insomnia.
- Increases your sense of well-being, sharpens your memory and increases your focus and attention.
- It improves confidence and emotional resilience.
- Mindfulness creates clearer, more focused thinking and improve efficiency at work and at home.
Mindfulness can transform your entire world from the inside out. Everything you’ve been searching for out there – feelings of fulfilment, peace and wholeness – has been with you all along. In other words, the more mindful you are, the happier you are.