The word “Mindfulness” is used everywhere today.  Businesses, life and executive coaches, yoga studies, and the like have all played their part in sharing the concept of mindfulness.  But what does mindfulness actually mean and how can it be practiced?

What is Mindfulness?

I define mindfulness as a harmonious non-judgmental state of being with oneself, others, and the environment; bringing forth awareness and acknowledgement of the present moment.  In essence, mindfulness is recognizing what one is feeling and thinking about themselves at present, while putting aside any judgements which accompany those feelings and thoughts.  Moreover, mindfulness also incorporates the ability to put aside any judgements which arise from feelings and thoughts regarding the people and environment which surround you in that moment.   Notably, being mindful does not mean one ignores or represses their feelings and thoughts.  Rather, they embrace them and allow those which do not serve them to pass, creating room for the ones which do.

How to Practice Mindfulness?

1Mindfulness and mediation are often used synonymously; however, mindfulness is not meditation.  Mediation, on the other hand, is mindfulness.  Mindfulness itself is larger than meditation but can be, and often is, practiced through meditation.  Meditation comes in many forms, generally focusing on one’s breath and body for awareness, such as: contemplative prayer, loving kindness, mantra, transcendental, vispassana, yogic, and zen.  But what if meditation is not for you?  Don’t fret, there are other ways to practice mindfulness.

One simple way of practicing mindfulness, besides meditation, is to simply ask yourself some questions, such as: “How do I feel right now?”  Allow yourself to answer the question freely and accept the first answer which comes to mind.  Explore what that answers means.  How do your feelings affect you?  Do they cause judgements to come forth, or do they bring forth peace within you?  Once you have explored your current feelings and thoughts about yourself, explore how you feel and what you think about those around you and your surroundings.  How do they affect you?

Either way, our ultimate goal in practicing mindfulness is to reach a state in which we become ever mindful, not just during our dedicated times set aside to practice it.

The Effects of Mindfulness?

1Pacticing mindfulness has been shown to reduce our “fight or flight” and stress responses.  The more we practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes to help prevent drastic responses, like the above, from taking control.

 

References

1Schreiber, K. (2018). The Surprising Science of Mindfulness. Centennial Health(The Power of Mindfulness), 8-11.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This