Mindfulness

Due to the constant disruptions and distractions in our daily lives, it is very easy for the human mind to become frenzied. In this busy society where most of us live, people are “moving at a million miles per hour”. It can, therefore, be very easy for a person to become overwhelmed with all the tasks and demands of their daily lives.

As we become more and more absorbed in our daily activities, paradoxically, we become more invested in the ‘created reality’ in our head, rather than being more present to the moment to perceive reality as it actually is. This in turn not only causes one to miss life as it is unfolding in front of them, but it can also be a slippery road to internal turmoil and distress caused by one’s constant attention on either the unchangeable past or the unknowable future.

As such, a mind that is constantly focused on the past will most likely be in a state of regret or sorrow, whereas the mind constantly fixed on the future is often in a state of worry and anxiety as to what may be around the corner. Neither of these mindsets serves to bring about happiness in one’s life.

Fortunately, there is a method whereby an individual can become more present to the moment with an increased awareness of their surroundings, which in turn, can help a person to respond to their emotions in a calm and more positive way. This technique is known as mindfulness meditation.

Below, we will provide some information on mindfulness meditation and the different aspects related to its practice.

See also: What Is Meditation

What Does Mindfulness Meditation Involve?

The core of mindfulness meditation is to intentionally pay attention to the present situation in a non-judgemental manner. To obtain mindfulness clarity, it is necessary for mindfulness practitioners to learn different aspects of this core purpose.

For anyone wanting to learn mindfulness, it is recommended to find a qualified teacher or take a recognized course to begin your practice in the right way. A mindfulness course does not have to be long in order to get a firm grasp of the basics. In fact, mindfulness courses can often be fairly short in duration as the emphasis is on simplicity. There are also several online mindfulness courses that one can take to get a firm grasp on mindfulness and get started with their practice in the right way.

One aspect to begin a mindfulness practice is to pay attention purposefully and wholely to a specific task at hand. This can be done by practising specific mindfulness movements where you learn to focus the mind and remove unwanted “brain chatter”.

The task at hand, which can often be simple tasks from washing up, reading or even quietly sitting, serves as the focal point for one’s attention during the activity. When a person first begins a mindfulness practice in this way, it quickly becomes apparent as to how quickly our minds are distracted and start to chatter, at any given moment, which draws us away from the present moment.

Through practising mindfulness over time, a person can learn to quiet the mind, remove this unwanted and unnecessary chatter and bring about a greater sense of calm and peace into their lives.

There are also many additional benefits to a mindfulness practice, which we will discuss in more detail below. However, over time, people often experience an increase in one’s ability to see a situation clearly, a greater degree of focus, sharper thinking and a greater sense of awareness, to name but a few.

Generally speaking, people who regularly practice mindfulness find a reduction in the amount of problems that they seem to have in their life, which can be a direct result of being more present and therefore, having more clarity towards situations as they arise.

For people who are new to mindfulness meditation, it is common for the individual to become easily distracted and lose focus on the present moment or task at hand. This can be frustrating in the beginning; however, by moving beyond this feeling of frustration and accepting one’s current level of presence without judgement, it is easier to move beyond this and regain moments of clarity. In time, a person’s ability to be present will improve with practice.

What Are The Origins Of Mindfulness Meditation?

a Buddhist monk practicing mindfulnessThe concept of mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditation practices and is linked closely to Buddhism and Hinduism. Despite the traditional links to religious backgrounds, there is a modern day mindfulness technique that has become more popular and commonly used by millions of people worldwide.

Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program to the public in the late 1970’s as a form of modern day mindfulness meditation; since then, this program has been used to treat a great deal of medical and mental health conditions.

In the United Kingdom, as of the 1990’s, the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – a form of therapy combining mindfulness practice with cognitive-behavioral therapy – is noted as the most successful and recommended technique for patients suffering from depression.

Who Can Practice Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness meditation does not have any restriction on who can engage in this practice. This means that mindfulness, including modern day mindfulness techniques, can be practised by any individual of any age, gender, ethnicity, culture and creed. Despite having links to particular religions, mindfulness is not a religion and does not require an individual to hold a set belief system for practice.

What Are The Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation?

a peaceful womanAs of the late 1970’s, studies have been conducted in more than 1000 scientific publications surrounding the practice of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. The aim of these research studies was to explore the medical and psychological effects of mindfulness demonstrating its validity of the application. When reviewing these studies, it can be seen that mindfulness meditation can be highly beneficial for a person on both a physical and psychological level.

The benefits of mindfulness include:

  • An increased ability to recognise and slow down automatic or habitual behavioural responses
  • Responding more effectively to complicated or challenging situations
  • Viewing situations more clearly with a deeper focus
  • An increased sense of creativity
  • Am increased sense of balance and peace of mind
  • An increased resilience to stress at home and work

Final Words On Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been found to be effective for people of all ages as a method to significantly reduce stress, calm the mind and clarify thoughts while living in this turbulent 21st century.

If you feel that a mindfulness practice would benefit you then if is advisable to find a teacher near you or to start an online course for beginners.