"Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally" Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn
Respected expert and founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme at UMASS (University of Massachusetts).
Mindfulness is purposely paying full attention. Or becoming intentionally aware of the present moment and paying attention to it, to your thoughts, emotions and sensations in the body. Being able to be non-reactionary to our emotions, fears & limitations.
We know well that when it comes to exercise, if you 'use it, you won't loose it'! We know that to increase our level of fitness we have to practice and practice and practice. We won't just get fit. We have to get up and go to the gym, or go for that run/walk or bike ride. Whatever it is, we know we have to DO IT! Nike used that slogan for a reason!
Practicing has qualities that are necessary for us to get better at a particular skill. Some of these qualities are endurance, commitment, mindset and probably many more to help keep us on the path of doing our practice. Whether that be for fitness or for Mindfulness. In many ways there is not much difference. But the biggest overriding quality is that you want to see change and you want to do it.
No matter when you start practicing Mindfulness, you can develop your skill by committing to doing the practice. Just like fitness, you know you will only get fitter if you show up and do the exercise. You'll only see results with your Mindfulness practice if you show up and practice!
People don't go to the gym to be better at the gym. They go to be stronger and fitter. Likewise with Mindfulness practice, we don't meditate to become better at meditation. We meditate to create more awareness and improve our everyday lives. With a solid and consistent Mindfulness practice you can start to see shifts, transformation and reduction of stress.
Increasing mindfulness in your day-to-day life can lead to all sorts of good things like less suffering, more fulfillment, a deeper knowledge of who you are, positive behavior changes & even the ability to help other people more effectively. Being more attuned to your own feelings and needs enables a better understanding of others, thus facilitating better connection and compassion towards everyone around us.
The Mental Health Foundation in the UK's Mindfulness Report highlighted those engaged in mindfulness practice to be:
Less likely to experience psychological distress, be less neurotic, more extroverted.
Experience less negative thoughts and find it easier to let them go.
More stable self-esteem, which is less dependent on external factors.
Greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of their emotional state.
Better communicators and less troubled by relationship conflict.
Less likely to react aggressively when feeling threatened and experience improved attention, performance and productivity.
More and more research is showing the incredible results schools are gaining with the use of Mindfulness practices in place. Mindfulness is being used successfully all round the world in the work place, schools, universities, health care settings like hospitals to help people improve their ability to concentrate, focus, increase attention, decrease worry, anxiety, increase the ability to respond in an emotionally healthy way instead of reacting inappropriately and to deal with pain.
Mind body connection with presence and more conscious awareness. Creating a life instead of reacting to life. Making wiser, more discerning decisions from a place of inner balance and power! Intimate inner-connection, leading to an intimate connection to Life in all of its aspects - relationships (family, friendships, loves), work, projects, interests and pastimes, food and health...Being more present and living more mindfully!
This practice is truely profound and transformational. Mindfulness meditation is not any meditation. It is not a yoga meditation, a Buddhist meditation, it is not instructional and there are no belief systems that accompany it. It is a secular, awareness based exercise.
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