Mindfulness. It’s not a complicated word, but there seems to be a lot of confusion among people about what exactly this buzz word means and what benefits a person can reap from being more mindful.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is not sitting in one place meditating. It is not sitting in one place silently observing the world around us. It is having an open and curious mind – learning to be aware of what is going on in our minds and bodies without judgment.
Instead of simply sitting in one place or shutting off outside sounds, we can just become more aware and more curious of how much noise we are making, what noises we are making, and what the world is going through.
Features of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great tool to have in our mental resources. It will keep our stress levels down and it will bring out the best out of us. It will continue to bring clarity. It will help us to see the bigger picture in life. It will help us to develop new non-judgmental perspectives. It will help us to make choices and create positive outcomes. It starts with moment to moment awareness – in the moment- right now and that will allow us to see the big picture and in doing so, help us create different outcomes.
Being mindful is giving our full attention and being committed to the present moment. We have an instinct to look for what the future holds but with mindfulness, we can look into the past to learn from the past and use that wisdom to guide our decisions for the future. Being more mindful will help us choose what we really want instead of being completely consumed by past experience.
How to Be Mindful
There is a great big list of things you can do to be more mindful. It’s a very simple list. What you can’t do is be mindful all the time.
Where we spend our time is up to us. We can choose to be mindful in one place or another depending on the time we have and the activities we choose to do. We can choose to be very mindful in the morning before we start our day and then change into mindless consumption in our day. We can choose to sit down and do nothing and watch a movie with the utmost devotion. We can choose conscious responsibility and make notes and then limit the notes to only what we use to remember the past. Finally, we can make time for a mindful walk every day.
Simply put, mindfulness is simply recognizing and accepting what’s happening in the moment, staying with it, and acting from that perspective.
I like this definition from the International Foundation for Practices of Mindfulness (IFPM):
“Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention in a particular way – to be fully in the present experience of every moment and to experience self-awareness in the present.”
There’s a Zen Buddhists version of the definition of mindfulness:
“To be mindful of the present moment is to cultivate awareness without judgment, wisdom without limitation; to see things as they are without grasping or clinging. Thus, mindfulness is the ability to perceive things as they are without creating mental or physical images.”
Mindfulness is largely about being aware of what’s happening in the moment. It is the natural state of being. This is different than rational decision making, which has the potential to interfere with the moment.
Here are just a few of the many benefits it can provide:
Gain peace of mind
There’s a persistent myth out there that mindfulness practice will make you feel more angry, get more stressed or depressed, and decrease your quality of life. This isn’t true.
Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of situations and it’s easily integrated into your life. It can be a light bulb moment of noticing what’s happening right now. Fixing this type of mind set is a blessing and a great way to bring peace to your life.
Boost your happiness
Releases tension and stress
Mindfulness is great at removing the tension and stress that’s caused from worry, anxiety, or a past trauma. It’s a step-by-step process that will help you release the stress left from you life events. The positive side of this is that you’ll be able to feel and experience much more happier and more healthy.
It’s All about Finding Your Peace
Finding your peace is the ultimate human experience, no matter what your religion, politics, or affiliation is.
People all over the world have different methods for warding off feelings of stress, anxiety, and frustration. When you practice mindfulness, you will overcome your stress and anxiety.
You’ll discover a new tool in your toolbox that will allow you to deal with any situation that arises in your life.
Control your thoughts
Here’s a key concept of mindfulness: reducing the amount of mental chatter going on in your mind. Our mental chatter has a lot to do with our thoughts. Our thoughts create our experience. So when you quiet your mind, you also quiet your thoughts.
Mindfulness changes the quality of your thoughts.
You will experience a regular stream of positive thoughts and feelings instead of a constant stream of negative thoughts. Your mind will be able to consistently focus on the present moment and on the good instead of the bad.