What Mindfulness Is… and Isn’t
Mindfulness means “to be awake – or aware – non judgementally”. It helps us become more attuned to our thoughts – and our subsequent emotions and actions as a result of these thoughts – and that can be life-changing for you, and those around you!
The cognitive mind likes patterns and repetitiveness. You’ll recognise this from recalling how you can brush your teeth, eat, drive and dress (although not usually at the same time!) without consciously thinking about the task. And that’s fine except for that other thing that happens all on its own, the uninvited thoughts and ruminations about the past – or the future. Now, if those thoughts and ruminations are positive and help bring emotions of joy or contentedness – gratitude perhaps, then all is well.
A cornerstone of much of my personal and professional practice – mindfulness, is a form of mind-training rather than brainwashing :-/
The individual (the client), where agreed it is appropriate and helpful, is shown – via gentle guidance – how to return to a daily way of living and thinking that is anything but new. A reminder of how we all once did think and behave as young children, mindfully living in the moment, seeing things just as they are with clarity! Subsequently, allowing us to provide appropriate responses, rather than the common reactionary behaviours to cognitions which can lead us to:
- busy minds
- other unhealthy psychological conditions
Think of when you were a young child and when you were at play. That was when you were thinking only of that moment of play, of creativity and fun – rather than worrying about yesterday or tomorrow.
What will I lose?
You remain an adult. You keep all the skills and knowledge gained over your lifetime, but instead of allowing your subconscious to control your behaviours to external stimuli (another person, an environment, etc), or internal emotions resulting from your thoughts (distress, anger, anxiety), you ‘see’ each moment for what it really is, making new decisions based on that moment, rather than a past long since gone.
We can ‘lose’ much of the anxiety, stress and rumination that otherwise invades our thoughts.
Mindfulness helps us:
- to quieten the mind
- reduce unhealthy reactions to stressors
- allow access to appropriate responses to ‘life’
- reduce the impact of past trauma
- sleep and relax with greater quality
- to perform better, at home, and at work
- enjoy enhanced relationships with partners, the family, and colleagues
- recognise the impermanence of life, the good and the less enjoyable aspects
- improve overall mental health and wellbeing
- improve physical aspects – diet, digestion, immune system, blood pressure
- allow much greater access to creativity
- reduce desire to be elsewhere – wanting things to be different
- lessen greatly, the ‘need’ for material things to make us happier and more fulfilled