If you’re not exactly sure what being mindful involves, this is the place to start. By emptying your mind and being in the present moment, you can reap a wealth of benefits.
Here, you’ll learn the history and main concepts of mindfulness, and get an idea of how your life might look after you learn to live more fully in the moment.
Discover the ways mindfulness is used by its many advocates – from celebrities to professors – and learn how it can benefit you, too.
Take the quiz on to become aware of the many areas of life that mindfulness can impact on, then find out how being more present can enhance your memory, help you lose weight and even improve your sex life.
By being fully present… you’re able to inhabit the moment in a way that brings a wealth of benefits, including reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, better communication, and increased concentration
what is mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a serious buzz word in recent years – do a Google search and you’ll get almost 63 million results! From health to education, business, and personal wellbeing,
mindfulness is seen in almost every walk of life. The NHS prescribes it to patients experiencing stress and depression, offering staff training on the techniques, too Harvard Business School includes its principles in its leadership programs.
Google and eBay are just two of the companies that have dedicated rooms for staff to practice mindfulness meditation in work time. So what is mindfulness, and how did it all begin.
Origin of mindfulness
While it has its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness, as we know it today with its focus on being fully present in the current moment, was developed by the scientist, Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine,
Health Care and Society in the US and now the emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In the 1970s he adapted Buddhist meditation techniques to help people with chronic illnesses manage their conditions, inspired by a study he conducted on patients with psoriasis.
After being taught to meditate while receiving ultraviolet light treatment, the participants’ skin conditions cleared up at four times the rate of the non-meditators, all because they learned to focus on the present moment.
11 amazing books definitely worth a read-
- Acceptance- and Mindfulness-Based Approaches to Anxiety: amazon
- Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World- amazon
- Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening- amazon
- Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience– amazon
- 30-Minute Anxiety Meditation- amazon
- Chakra Healing: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Healing Techniques that Balance the Chakras- amazon
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living-amazon
- Meditation: 4 Books in 1-Chakra and Reiki Healing for Beginners,-amazon
- Practical Meditation for Beginners: 10 Days to a Happier, Calmer You-amazon
- Mindfulness Therapy Games: Social Skills Game That Teaches Mindfulness for Kids,-amazon
- Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 minutes a day to less stress, more peace- amazon
Creating clarity with mindful
If you’ve looked around for that half-eaten sandwich only to find you’ve finished it, or walked to the end of your road and wondered if you double-locked the front door you’ll know what it’s like to live on autopilot. For many of us, it’s the norm.
We’re so preoccupied with our thoughts, catching up on a stream of unanswered emails or trying to spend time with friends and family at the weekend and still have time to shop that – understandably – we tend to think in terms of the number of tasks we get through in a day rather than the quality of their experience.
When was the last time you watched a sunset or smelled a flower? And how long is it since you simply enjoyed a cup of tea – no checking your mobile or watching TV? As well as allowing you to deeply appreciate the smaller moments in life, being more mindful can also bring a sense of calm and ease to the more challenging ones.
‘This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we’re not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realise the richness and depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.’By-Kabat-Zinn.
By being fully present, aware of your thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations, you’re able to inhabit the moment in a way that brings a wealth of benefits, including reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, a more balanced response to difficult situations, better communication, more satisfying relationships, and increased focus and concentration.
It’s even been shown to enhance your immune system. ‘Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.
Brain benefit in mindfulness
And it’s not just about feeling good – there are a whole host of benefits. Recent research by Harvard University shows that the brain can create new grey matter in the hippocampus, an area involved with learning and memory.
The study also showed an increase in areas associated with self-awareness and compassion. Although meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation. practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.
This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.’
one of the reasons mindfulness work is because it opens up a space between what happens to you and how you react. All too often, we react unconsciously to situations, unaware of the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
When you’ve been overlooked yet again for a job promotion it’s easy to slip into old patterns. If your childhood efforts weren’t valued by parents or teachers, it’s no surprise if, as an adult, you feel a sense of shame or self-righteous anger when similarly treated.
Integrative counselor and psychotherapist Anna McNally refers to it as time-traveling – reacting to a present situation from a mindset more appropriate to a past experience.
What mindfulness training does is give you the space to be fully present in the moment, so you can choose how you act in a manner appropriate to the situation.
Mindfulness over matter
Confused about the different types of mindfulness? Here are the basic forms you’ll meet on your mindfulness journey.
Mindfulness in Buddhism is one of the teachings that form the Eightfold path, a guide to freedom from suffering.
After his own ‘enlightenment’, the Buddha spoke of the Four Foundations of mindfulness: Mindfulness of body, Mindfulness of feelings, Mindfulness of mind and Mindfulness of Dharma (the natural law of things).
As you go through this blog, you’ll see how these four areas form the foundation of mindfulness techniques we still use today, 2,500 years later.
For example, the vipassana meditation from the oldest living Buddhist tradition, Theravada, involves focusing your attention on the breath as a way to cultivate awareness.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction
The father of modern-day mindfulness is a formal eight-week program, which has also been produced in a self-help workbook format.
It helps you become aware of your habitual reactions to situations and teaches you how to break the cycle in order to give yourself greater freedom of choice in how you experience yourself and others.
Research shows MBSR is enormously helpful for people with chronic pain, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as anxiety and panic.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Developed by the University of Toronto professor of psychology Zindel Segal, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology Mark Williams and research scientist John Teasdale, MBCT combines breathing exercises, meditation, and stretching with elements of cognitive therapy.
In the 1990s, research by Teasdale and psychologist Philip Barnard discovered the two main modes of the mind – ‘doing’ and ‘being’. ‘Doing’ mind is goal-oriented, while ‘being’ mind accepts what is.
It’s this latter mode that leads to lasting emotional changes, and MBCT has been developed to support people who experience repeated bouts of depression.
That is for now…
here are some other helpful resources to help you make mindful life healthy benefits-
- how to be mindful and 4 mindfulness worksheets
- 10 amazing life changer mindfulness quotes
- How to get started a walking meditation
- 10 amazing health benefits of mindfulness and easy meditation technique
- 5 easy way of Loving Kindness Meditation technique and benefit
- 101 way of Start a mindful breathing well
- 7 ways of mindfulness body scan meditation exercise: benefit
- Walking meditations: with peace is every step
- What is mindful eating: techniques, benefit, exercise