Many of us operate on autopilot. Our attention is often short and easily distracted. With mindfulness, we have the potential to notice new things.
Mindfulness is the art of creating space between us and our reactions. It is being present and aware, moment by moment, regardless of the occurrence.
Mindfulness is the essence of engagement.
Mindfulness is form of meditation
There is a fine line, between meditation and mindfulness. Meditation is a practice to reach a heightened level of consciousness, and mindfulness is the act of focusing on being in the present.
Mindfulness is the type of meditation where you bring your full mind to an object. For example, being mindful of your breathing improves your awareness of being in the present.
Who can practice mindfulness?
We all possess the ability to be mindful. It is available to us at every moment, and we can practice it everywhere.
There is no need to buy anything special, like a meditation cushion, just commit and space each day to develop your mindfulness skills.
Mindfulness is not all thinking
Many people assume it’s stressful and exhausting to be in the moment. But what is stressful is all the mindless negative judgment we make.
We tend to worry that we will encounter a problem we cannot solve — this gives us stress. We seek stability, we want to control things, even our thoughts. But we cannot stop our thoughts, all we are trying to do is pay attention to the present moment, without judgment.
Mindfulness can change your brain
Christina Congleton divulged that research provides strong evidence that practicing nonjudgmental, present-moment awareness (mindfulness) changes the brain.
During a controlled mindfulness meditation program, participants experienced significant increases in the density of gray matter.
Further studies demonstrated that exposure to chronic stress is harmful to the brain. However, practicing mindfulness positively affects brain areas related to perceptions, body awareness, and pain tolerance, emotional regulation, introspection, complex thinking, and sense of self.
In other words, practicing mindfulness can reprogram the brain to be more rational and less emotional. This allows us to make decisions based more on fact than emotions. Mindfulness helps us apply fight or flight reflexes when we are actually being attacked by a predator.
Mindfulness is a must to keep our brain healthy and to protect ourselves from toxic stress
There are specific techniques that you can do to practice mindfulness. The most common mindfulness-enhancing technique is where you meditate in the morning before starting your day. But some people practice mindfulness all day with mini-meditations, these can be for one to three minutes.
Take a break and breathe
Just take the time to take a break. Become aware of your breath. Notice if it is deep or shallow. Bring in your breath through your nose and out the mouth. It should feel natural. Do not strain. Focus on the rise and fall of your belly with each breath. If the mind wanders, gently come back to the breath, without judgment for losing focus.
Practice mindfulness throughout the day, particularly if you feel yourself getting stressed or overwhelmed. It can be used as a part of your spiritual practice or just as a form of stress management.
It is helpful to create reminders for yourself to practice mini-meditations throughout the day. Or you can do them when multitasking is reeking havoc on your focus, or just because you feel like you need it.
You will find yourself more mindful and calm.
Somedays meditation will feel natural and somedays it won’t. The trick is to stick to it no matter how it feels.
No need to make it complicated. Start with an app called Headspace. Try their free guided meditation for 10 minutes a day for ten days. It only takes ten days to see results.