What is mindfulness?
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of becoming more fully aware of the present moment, in a non-judgmental way, rather than being preoccupied with intrusive thoughts, worries and concerns.
There's a growing body of research which shows that mindfulness can be a key element in happiness, wellbeing, and performance.
Practising mindfulness regularly will reduce stress and increase emotional resilience. It improves concentration and alertness, It is included in clinical guidelines for treating depression and anxiety. and has been shown to help physical conditions such as cardio-vascular disease, high blood pressure and chronic pain.
Mindfulness is our natural ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It is defined as "non-judgmental awareness in the present moment".
Mindfulness relies on human quality that everyone already possesses. It’s not something that requires us to learn complicated techniques, we simply have to learn how to access it. This is normally done through simple attention-focussing exercises.
The more you do it, the better you become at employing mindfulness in your day-to-day activities.
Mindfulness involves simple meditation. Though in its present form it has its origins in Buddhism, similar reflective practices have been used in many cultures around the world. From a mindful perspective, when you meditate, the focus should simply be on doing the exercise, with no specific expectation of outcome.
As you become adept at mindfulness you'll learn to reduce stress and to enhance your resilience and performance. Typically, people find that they gain self-awareness and insight. The study of mindfulness can, therefore, be transformative because it leads to a shift in self-understanding and empowerment.
Mindfulness opens the way for us to develop and grow. The cognitive skills learned through the exercises are allied to psychological health and wellbeing, and the calming effect on the body produces corresponding physical benefits. Change happens when we learn to suspend judgment and engage our natural curiosity about the habits of the mind, approaching our experience with feelings of benevolence and compassion towards ourselves and others.