Mindfulness is great for gently calming the mind. You can use it as a self help tool to restore a sense of control over your life. Western society has really embraced eastern teachings, mindfulness is a practice that comes from the Buddhist tradition. It has been practiced for 2500 years. Mindfulness is a state of observation and awareness that allows you to appreciate the here and now. We are no longer dwelling on the past or anxious about the future. Mindfulness connects you with the present moment, which is free from suffering. It reconnects you with simple pleasures. Such as breathing, walking, driving. Mindfulness is self awareness, aware of thoughts, feelings, breathing, emotions, awareness of the body, awareness of the senses.
How to engage in mindful activity
- Give all of your attention to whatever it is you are doing: it could be something as simple as walking or washing the dishes.
- Do it slowly.
- Fully experience the physical sensations.
- Focus on allowing each of your senses to take in the surroundings.
- Become aware of all the details via your senses.
- When thoughts intrude on your awareness, gently return your focus on the sensations, smells, sounds and sights.
- Remain in a state of non-judgement.
- Simply allow yourself to receive the moment.
Your mind will keep drifting out of the present moment, so you need to keep bringing it back. It is bringing your mind back to the present that makes up the practice of mindfulness. Never criticise your mind for drifting away: just bring it back kindly and gently.
If we ignore that inner voice that tells us to slow down or take a break, at some point our health will begin to suffer. At the very least our ability to withstand stress or the pressures of daily life will weaken us, reduce our immune response and keep us in an anxious state. Mindfulness involves learning to become more aware of our bodily sensations as well as our thoughts and feelings. By focusing our full attention on them moment to moment, observing, watching …allowing them to pass by without judgment. We call this witnessing. (A process of observing oneself from outside)
TIP: Create mindful reminders. Pick an everyday sound it could be ambulance sirens or birds singing or perhaps the text notification sound on your phone. Use it as a reminder to come back to full self awareness. Feel what you’re feeling, see what you’re seeing and hear what you’re hearing.