What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice of intentionally directing attention in the present moment to your own experience and the world around you. It is seeing things as they are and not as we wish to see them. Mindfulness is a way to get out of the so-called ‘automatic pilot’ mode, in other words, it’s focusing awareness on what we are doing at a given moment, instead of allowing the mind to uncontrollably drift from thinking about the past to worrying about the future.
The word mindfulness comes from the Pali word sati and means to remember or to be aware of the moment. Often, we are so absorbed in our thoughts that we do not remember our recent activities whereas by practicing mindfulness in everyday activities, our mind becomes more and more present at a given moment, allowing us to rest from thoughts that often absorb a lot of our energy.
Mindfulness is a skill that’s similar to a muscle – the more regularly we practice, the better our ability to concentrate on HERE and NOW. It is exercised through various meditation techniques and very delicate yoga.
It should be remembered that mindfulness and the practice of meditation is an ongoing process and not a time-limited, goal-orientated cycle of exercises.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness have been scientifically proven by numerous studies carried out among people who regularly meditate, people who are clinically ill or suffering from chronic stress-related illnesses as well as those in business environments. To find out more about benefits go here.
What mindfulness is NOT?
- religious practice
Very often, the word meditation is associated with Buddhism and some religious rituals. However, mindfulness is a fully secular method of working with the mind that is appropriate for the followers of any religion or philosophical current. Modern scientific psychology considers the mindfulness technique as one of the best methods to support psychotherapy and the healing process.
- relaxation technique
The main purpose of this method is training the mind, broadening one’s self-awareness and improving contact with one’s own body. Relaxation is very often a side effect of the practice, yet at the same time, it may not appear at all. Often when we finally stop and listen to our body, thoughts and emotions we notice how numerous they are and what influence they have on our well-being.
Mindfulness meetings aim at training to work with your own mind and mastering the ability to be fully present. During classes participants share their experiences through discussion and self-observation, nobody is trying to fix anybody. Mindfulness can, however, be helpful in therapy, allowing the patient a better insight into their own mechanisms and behavioral patterns.
- yoga class
Mindful movement with elements of yoga are part of mindfulness classes, but they are only done to practise body awareness, not to improve body condition.
- a way to get rid of your thoughts
Our brain will always produce thoughts, this its main function. Mindfulness helps to be aware of our thoughts and emotions as well as the process in which they arise, helping us to understand how our mind works. It’s possible to feel that there are less thoughts because thanks to mindfulness, we know how to deal with them – we are not fighting with them anymore.
Mindfulness is not difficult!
… but requires perseverance and strong will;)
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl