Mindfulness has its roots in Eastern contemplative traditions and is most often associated with the formal practice of mindfulness meditation. However mindfulness is more than meditation; it is an inherent state of focused awareness, which involves consciously attending to one’s moment-to-moment experience. Importantly there is positive evidence for the benefit of mindfulness in treating stress, depression, chronic pain and anxiety conditions.
- Deliberately paying attention in a particular way, observing your mind and body intentionally and non-judgementally.
- Actively sitting with, allowing and making space for thoughts, emotions and sensations
- A way of building a dual awareness of yourself- eg. having a thought vs observing yourself having that thought
- Bringing your full attention to the present moment, learning to be in the ‘here and now’
- A way of developing a kind of healthy distance between yourself & distressing thoughts and feelings
- A way of slowing things down at times of distress
- A way of dealing with unpleasant feelings whilst taking effective meaningful action in your life
- Observing your internal and external experiences with an attitude of openness, receptiveness and curiosity
- Not a distraction tool or a way of feeling better but a way to get better at feeling
Everyone has the capacity to be mindful; it is just difficult with the distractions of everyday life. The only way of learning mindfulness is to practice it; where one can become skilful in self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-regulation
- To disengage and separate from unhelpful thoughts and emotions that fuel suffering
- To reduce rumination
- To improve decision making – balance the needs of your emotions with the reasoning of your thoughts
- To take value-based action despite opposing thoughts and feelings
- To foster caring and kindness towards yourself and others
- To teach your mind to be less reactive
- To develop flexibility in responding to your mind
- To focus fully on the present moment
- To focus on your moment-to-moment stream of awareness
- To improve the relationship between you and your thoughts, emotions and sensations
- Find a comfortable posture. Close your eyes. Allow your body to be held, supported by the chair. Notice directly the sensations of your body in contact with the chair.
- Notice that your breath is already moving on its own. Notice its rhythm as you breathe in and as you breathe out.
- Next narrow your attention to the flow of the breath at the tip of your nose, as it contacts the nostrils.
- Whenever your attentions wanders, and you notice that it has wandered, return your attention to the flow of your breath.
- Next bring attention to thoughts within your field of experience. Mentally notice and give a word label to the type of thoughts that may arise, such as analysing, planning, remembering, hearing and so on ie notice worry and name it ‘worry’ and redirect your attention to your breathing.
- Next bring your attention to external sounds external outside the room you are in. Acknowledge each sound and bring your attention back to your breathing.
- Take a few more breaths before slowly opening your eyes to take in your surroundings and bring this attitude of allowing to the rest of your day.