Mindfulness is a state of awareness which is the byproduct of meditation, relaxation, yoga and hypnosis. What it means to be mindful is to pay attention to your body, mind and spirit. We are constantly bombarded by messages from the world around us and from our own minds. A good way to counteract this is to train yourself to become more aware of what you are feeling, thinking and doing when you are in difficult situations. Mindfulness can be learned and practiced regularly.
Mindfulness is an eight week proof-based self-help program that provides intensive, mind-body awareness training to help individuals with chronic anxiety, panic attacks, pain and chronic stress. People who have taken the program have reported significant reductions in mood swings, insomnia, headaches and irritability. They also report less depression, drug use and alcohol abuse. The program teaches how to quiet the mind, bring attention to the sensations around you, and move into a powerful state of mindful absorption. The first step towards being present is noticing the present.
Mindfulness is sometimes described as looking closely at feelings without judging them or participating in them. Mindfulness cultivates a state of insight. Insight is a mental state in which an individual sees the world as a whole instead of one’s experiences or thoughts. Mindfulness helps you to become more attentive to all things around you rather than focusing on your thoughts about all things. This is in contrast to the absorption of thoughts and sensations that characterize the traditional passive attitude towards life.
One of the benefits of a mindfulness meditation class is learning to get caught up with the sensations without judgment. You learn how to get caught up with the feelings without judging them as good, bad, ugly, right or wrong. This is similar to the technique developed by the Buddhist monk and teacher, Ajahn Brahma. In his book, “The Essentials of Meditation,” he explains the benefits of becoming deeply mindful and noting down all the various sensations without judgment while trying to relax. When you get caught up with these sensations, you can then move onto the next thought, allowing it to pass without judgment.
Another benefit of learning mindfulness is the ability to fully experience the present moment. When you are fully present, you are not overwhelmed by the tenseness or anxiety of any given situation. When you pay attention to the present moment, you become aware of everything around you without getting caught up in what is happening to you. Mindfulness allows you to experience the present moment fully without worrying about or adding to the stress and tension of the moment.
Mindfulness is easy to develop and learn. Mindfulness can be practiced daily on your own and even within your work or study schedule. For those who have found themselves stuck in a rut and cannot seem to move forward, there is a mindfulness practice that anyone can try that can help bring them back to the present moment. It can also help you deal with difficult people and situations that can sometimes be overwhelming. You don’t have to do this in a group setting but with mindful movement, it can bring you relief and healing.