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What is mindfulness?

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In an oversimplified nutshell, Mindfulness is the act of being present.

You may have seen many social posts about living in the past, or looking too much into the future; Mindfulness is about living in the “now”. Living too much in the past brings feelings of resentment, regret, sadness, and guilt to name a few emotions. Whilst living in the future can bring feelings of anxiety, worry, unease, and fear. Being Mindful grounds you firmly in the present. In each specific moment. Meditation is not required – though there are many mindful meditations out there should you want to experiment.

Mindfulness in a bit more detail.

We’ve explained that being mindful is about the “now” – but what does that really mean?

Intentionally living with awareness in the present moment.

Ever driven home from work and can’t recall your journey? That’s what many of us call autopilot. We are stuck in our minds rather than focusing on what is going on around us in the moment. Mindfulness takes notice of those journey details.

Without judgement or rejecting the moment.

Finding ways to let go of evaluating, avoiding, or blocking the present moment.

Without attachment to the moment.

Attaching yourself to this very moment means you’ll be clinging to the past with each second. The present moment is ever changing and moving. The present is now. And it’s now. And it’s now. Each of those now’s that you have just read are in the past. The present is now.

Why should I live mindfully?

Mindfulness is proven to:

  • Reduce suffering and Increase happiness

  • Ease pain

  • Reduce stress and tension

  • Improve health

  • Improve relationships with others and with yourself

  • Increase the control you have of your mind

  • Increases focus

  • Increases observation skills

  • Reduces your reactivity to mental events

  • Experience reality how it really is

  • Without judgement

  • To be present

  • Less autopilot moments

How do I live mindfully?

You observe

Wordless watching (observing) – controlling your attention, but not what you observe – using all of your senses.

You describe

Describe what is – after you have observed. You cannot do these two things at the same time. Describing your observations is a way of deciphering what you observed directly. You cannot describe something you did not observe. Describing adds words to your observation, it is not your interpretation of what you observed, it is the facts.

You participate

Immersing yourself completely into your task, acting intuitive, without controlling the moment. During these mindful moments your mind will wander. Even the most versed mindful practitioners have wandering minds. Notice your mind starting to wander, and bring yourself back to your mindful moment. The more you do this, as with everything in life, the more efficient and effective you become.

Without judgement

Letting go of “good” or “bad” labels (judgements). Letting go of the “should” statements. Pay mind to your values, wishes, and emotions, but do not judge them. Most of all, when you find yourself judging, do not judge the judging.

One-mindfully

Multi-tasking is inefficient. Do one thing at a time. Let go of distractions (even the great kind). Be present to the experience. Anchor yourself to now.

Effectively

Let go of wishful thinking. Focus on what works. Be clear about the facts of the situation, your goals, and what you need to do to achieve those goals. When we live too much in the past or the future, we get stuck too much in our emotional brain or our logical brain. Being mindful is about the balance of those “brains” – that balance is called the wise mind. 

A Few Mindful Activities:

Now that we have explained mindfulness in all its present glory, here are a few activities for you to try. 

  • Use something with a strong taste to focus your attention.

  • Stroke a finger across your skin and notice what it feels like.

  • Notice the sensations in your chest, stomach, nose, and throat as you breathe in and out.

  • Focus on listening to music – pick an instrument within the music to focus on.

  • Notice thoughts as they come and go through your mind

  • When you feel the urge to do something impulsive, notice the sensations in your body.

If you would like more information on mindfulness and mindful activities you can practice, we offer a free download on our website here: poetsin.com/resources. 

Author: Sammie Adams, PoetsIN.

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