Lets Talk Mindfulness

It’s a busy world. You fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television.

You plan your day while listening to the radio and commuting to work, and then plan your weekend.

But in the rush to accomplish necessary tasks, you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment, missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling.

When was the last time you noticed whether you felt well-rested in the morning or that apple tree was is in bloom along your route to work?

What is mindfulness?

Whether you are first hearing of mindfulness or have been wondering for a while exactly what it means, it is helpful to have a definition handy.

According to Cambridge dictionary

  • Mindfulness is “The practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.”

The organisation  Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World

  • Say “Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself.”

And Mindful.org

  • State “Mindfulness is the basic human 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.”

The following people have all dedicated their lives to mindfulness, but how do they define it?

  • Thich Nhat Hanh – “Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and others.”
  • Sylvia Boorstein – “Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn – “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

As you can see there is no straight definition of mindfulness, but there are a few patterns that stick out. The most obvious is that mindfulness has to do with paying attention being nonjudgmental and focusing internally by directing our attention to the body and thoughts.

Mindfulness is defined in different ways by different people.

Which definitions of mindfulness do you agree with, and which definitions do you disagree with?

How do you define mindfulness?

So what are the benefits of mindfulness?

Here are 3 most common benefits of mindfulness

Improves well-being

Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life. Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.

By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.

Improves physical health

If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways.

Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain and improve sleep.

Improves mental health.

In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Gaining these benefits can be as simple as closing your eyes and being silent for a few minutes a day. This is a practice that is so easy, anyone can do it!

Benefits of mindfulness with children

Mindfulness studies with children as the participants are becoming more common as more and more benefits of mindfulness on early development are discovered. Here are some of the amazing outcomes associated with mindfulness on children.

A study carried on mindfulness carried out on school children found that children who practiced mindfulness reported improvements in a wide range of areas, including decreased reactivity, increased curiosity and affect tolerance, improved patience, and self-acceptance, and enhanced relational qualities.

Mindfulness is known to be effective in helping students achieve academic success in a variety of ways, and this benefit is not reserved for any specific group.

There are so many amazing benefits to practicing mindfulness, with more being discovered all the time. With such positive potential outcomes, the reasons not to practice mindfulness are quickly evaporating.

So now we know the benefits of mindfulness let’s dive deeper into the world of mindfulness.

BE HERE NOW

Ever heard the phrase ‘Be here and now’ in relation to mindfulness and meditation?

That’s because encouraging our minds to ‘be here, right now’, is essentially what mindfulness promotes.

Think about it. If you’re constantly preoccupied with worry about something that happened in the past, (keep in mind that ‘the past’ in this sense can mean anything up to several minutes ago) Are you truly focusing all your attention in the here and now?

The same goes for the future, over-anticipation of an event, day, or any time which is separate from what is happening RIGHT NOW is ultimately irrelevant to the present moment.  It will not, (and cannot) affect your present situation.

Eckhart Tolle stresses this in his teachings and it’s a very important skill which mindfulness teaches – to let go of past and future.

Letting Go

‘Surrender to what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be’ – Sonia Ricotti

Not holding on to past emotions or events is a huge part of what we learn in mindfulness.

The importance of LETTING GO of previous experiences and feelings is vital if we are to truly live in the now and glean maximum potential from our current situation.

As Eckhart Tolle and countless other mindfulness experts have declared; ‘thoughts aren’t facts’, and so we NEED to stop thinking that they are.

How many of you have ever wrongfully believed something you told yourself without factual validation or foundation, and ended up a ball of anxiety or with excessive and needless worry?

Letting go can be a very difficult skill to master, as our minds are particularly good at convincing us a thing has been let go, when it fact it may not be the case.

We need to let go of stories

What stories about yourself are keeping you wound up?

For example, when difficulty arises in a relationship, it may trigger thoughts like:

“I am not good enough,” or “I don’t have enough.”

What story can you let go of?

What story do you want to cultivate that creates more peace and balance?

This is one that I use often:

“I am being fully supported and have everything that I need right now.”

I automatically feel more peace and inner stability after a minute of repeating this phrase.

We can replace the old story with something more supportive at any time during the day or simply repeat it over and over as a way to calm the mind and body.

We have to let go of stuff.

We acquire so many things because we believe that this thing, this experience, etc., will make us happy.

By continuing to search outside of ourselves for pleasure without a strong inner practice to tether ourselves to, we will always be hungry and our hearts and our bellies will never feel full.

What if you could come from a place of enough—how much stuff would you actually need?

What do you really need to feel full?

We need to let go of busyness

Sometimes the best way to have more—time, connection, and freedom—is to commit to less.

This is the one we are all in search of.

Everyone I meet seems to feel stretched with the information overload, the list of never ending tasks, the musts, and the shoulds.

Sometimes the best way to have more, time, connection, and freedom is to commit to less.

How can you simplify your life so you have time for what really matters? What is the first thing you can let go of today?

Whether it’s letting go of the feeling of the need to be busy, letting go of a person, place, experience – whatever it is, mindfulness is the key.

Slowing Down

A really easy way to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life is simply to Slow. Things. Down.

  • Slow down eating your meals and really take the time to taste the food.
  • Slow down your walk to work or dropping the kids of to school and take the time to notice your surroundings.
  • Slow down your quick responses to interactions.

Whatever you’re doing, and wherever you’re going, challenge yourself to observe one new thing every day, and you’ll be amazed at how much calmer you feel.

When we slow down, we automatically become more mindful and our attention gets more focused on the task at hand.

This not only optimizes the levels of productivity, but also enjoyment levels!

There are several methods which are effective in helping us to slow down and boost mindfulness, some of which include:

Single-task instead of multi-task –  As a recovering multi-tasker, I am here to tell you that it works. Research shows that we are more efficient when we attend to one thing at a time. Test it out. You may be surprised.

Breathe fully – Periodically throughout the day, pause and take a few full, deep, deliberate breaths. Notice the energy this creates. (I will talk more about this in a minute)

Get enough sleep – This is not always completely under our control, but set up the conditions as best you can to get at least seven hours a night. When we are tired and sluggish, we are not nearly as present and productive.

Recognize and reduce “time suckers.” –  Facebook, Twitter, TV, and email. Be deliberate in the amount of time you spend with your electronics. Set a timer if needed.

Delegate – Chores are good for kids. Let go of the need to have it done just as you would do it. Good enough is great sometimes.

Savor the moment. When you recognize a pleasant moment, soak it in.  Let it be. Try not to take the small moments for granted, for they are the ones we look back on with the most fondness.  

Slowing down not only the way we move our bodies, but our minds, too. This is vital if we are to understand and reap the benefits and importance of mindfulness.

I love this quote – “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha

Download my FREE e-book packed full of simple techniques that will help you either start or further enhance  your mindfulness journey. 

Download Here

There are so many amazing benefits to practicing mindfulness, with more being discovered all the time. With such positive potential outcomes, the reasons not to practice mindfulness are quickly evaporating.

Thank you for taking the time to experience my class! I love sharing this topic with people who are eager to start experiencing mindfulness and meditation! If you have any further questions, please post them below or Facebook Message Me,  I am always here to support you!!!

I’d really love to hear your thoughts!!!


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