The Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment on purpose and in a non-judgemental manner. Mindfulness exists in contrast to being full of mind which is having your mind full of thought about what has happened in the past, along with what may or may not happen in the future.
Having your mind full of ‘stuff’ to think about is a habit which is very well practised in our world today. Our world is for ever being added to by the demands of the information and technological society we reside in, giving us more and more ‘stuff’ to remember and think about.
A moment of mindfulness in a busy, stressful day may be fleeting for some. Being mindful or simply noticing the present moment, requires training for many of us caught up in life’s hustle and bustle.
Recent research has found that the benefits of training ourselves to be conscious of mindfulness and practising mindfulness has extensive benefits to our health, well-being, relationships and how we function in all areas of our life.
The benefits of mindfulness are vast. Some include:
Increased ability to focus on the moment and increased engagement in tasks.
Greater clarity, problem solving ability and creativity.
Dramatic improvement in our stress management and ability to manage workloads, deadlines and interpersonal conflict.
Enhanced self-regulation and openness to feedback.
Improved awareness of our own thought processes and the emotions they trigger, enabling more effective emotional regulation and resilience.
Improved and positive team relations and interpersonal skills.
Increased capacity to read other people, to accept the point of view of others and enhances empathy.
Greater meaning and purpose in what we do.
Increased self-acceptance and acceptance of others.
Enhanced awareness and control of our emotional state.
Increased ability to see solutions rather than focusing on problems.
Are you being mindful or are you full of mind?
Perhaps you can recognise some of the actions or ways we go about our day when we are FULL of mind and being NOT mindful.
Walking into a room and forgetting what you came in for.
Forgetting your train of thought.
Forgetting someone’s name whom you have just been introduced to.
Realizing that you can’t remember the last few moments of where you have been driving.
Being clumsy, having accidents, knocking things over, spilling things and bumping into things.
Not noticing subtle or not-so-subtle feelings.
Being unaware of pain or physical discomfort.
Being unaware of tension or stress in your body.
‘Listening’ to someone while doing something else at the same time.
Getting so focused on what you are going to do in the future that you lose touch with what you are doing at the moment.
Getting lost in your thoughts, feelings daydreams.
Creating scenarios or catastrophes not in touch with reality.
Being preoccupied with the future or the past.
Eating without being aware of eating.
Having periods of time where you have difficulty remembering the details of what happened.
Reacting emotionally, feeling like an emotion just “came out of nowhere”.
Daydreaming or thinking of other things when doing chores.
Doing several things at once rather than focusing on one thing at a time.
In simple terms, mindfulness is becoming aware of your here and now experience, both internally and in the external world around you.
Mindfulness provides you a space in the present moment – the moment you are living in right now.
Steps to practising mindfulness
To introduce mindfulness into your everyday life, consider the following steps as a guide to assist you to make mindfulness part of the way you live.
- Time: Choose a time of day for your regular mindfulness moments and make it part of your daily routine. Start with a few minutes each time and work up to 30 minutes or so. Go easy on yourself. If you miss a day or two, just start the routine again.
- Space and place: Choose a comfortable, quiet place, free of distractions. You might find using the time and place travelling on public transport works for you or sitting by yourself in your lunch break.
- Focus: Focus on being in the present. Notice your breathing. Count your breaths in for 6, hold for 3 and out for 6.
- Use your senses: Tune in to sights, touch, smells, taste and sounds noticed by your body in the present moment.
- Keep it light: Keep your focus light and easy with a sense of curiosity.
- Notice: Thoughts will appear in your mind. Simply notice the thought without judgement and let it go. Return to your breathing and senses.
Over time, you will notice the habits and patterns of thought and be able to detach and let go of resistance and those habits which fill your mind. Your thoughts will wonder less and you will become more mindful.
Aim to bring in spontaneous times during your day when you can have moments of mindfulness, focused on the present. With practice, you will notice how these times become more frequent and even easier.
Practising mindfulness helps you to become less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant thoughts and feelings. It allows you be fully present, here and now and to experience calm and peacefulness along with greater connection to yourself, others and to the world around you.
It makes good sense for your health, relationships and success in life to begin mindfulness practice now. As your life coach, I can assist you to get started and to check in with how you are going along your mindfulness journey.