November 30

Just What is Mindfulness Anyway?

Mindfulness is certainly a buzz word right now, but it's been around a long time. Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment on purpose, without judgement. Mindfulness helps us to get unhooked from ruminating about the past or worrying or over planning for the future. We keep our focus open, being curious and non judgmental about all aspects of our experience, both internal and external, without any attachment, with complete acceptance. Internal experiences could be thoughts or feelings; external might be sounds, smells. When we practice mindfulness to all internal and external experiences, they arise in our consciousness and then they disappear and then something else will rise in the consciousness and it will disappear. A thought will come and it will dissipate, followed by a certain smell, which goes away, followed by a certain sensation in the body. We just observe how all these experiences rise and fall, moment to moment, how it all unfolds, and instead of getting caught in one of those thoughts that arises, we remain the observers, with this complete openness of whatever comes. When we notice that we’ve become caught up in thinking we return ourselves to an anchor, like our breath, and then begin the observing process again. Mindfulness has been shown to improve well-being, physical health, and mental health. In recent years the research has shown that individuals who practice mindfulness on a regular basis are more able to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, are more fully present in the activities in which they engage, and have a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. In addition, mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

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