We have being hearing a lot these days about mindfulness, that has become a real trend worldwide. But what is mindfulness? How can be benefit from it?
Have you noticed that often you are carried away by your thought stream? Do you constantly worry or think about past or future events? You are not alone. The so called “monkey mind” by buddhists is an unsettle and restless mind, a mind that do things by default. When we do things by default we miss a lot of the beauty of the now. How many times have you drunk your coffee thinking about something else? Where were you while drinking your cup of coffee? Did you enjoy every sip of it? If you pay attention to such matters you will realise that that´s not often the case. But not worries! Mindfulness can give you back the most precious thing of all: the here and the now, your life.
What is mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn. So paying attention is the key to detect the patterns of thinking and dismantle the problem they are creating for us. For example, while you are drinking your coffee you could worry about something in the past or be anxious about a future event. And both, past and future don´t exist. The only thing you have right now if your cup of coffee.
Sometimes negativity and thoughts of unworthiness strike us: I am not enough, I am an awful person, I should be better, or I should be like my sister or mom or whoever. But is this really true? Through meditation and practise of Mindfulness you will realise that you are not your thoughts, they are your just events on the field of your awareness, and you don’t need to go along with them. The rumination patterns and negativity pull us very often into low moods and depression. The fact that you don´t identify so strongly with your feelings or thoughts will give you space and freedom, so that you are not carried away by them.
The nine attitudes of mindfulness practise:
(we tend to classify things as good or bad, which narrows our reality quite a lot. Moreover such labels don´t allow us to be with things as they are.).
3. A beginner’s mind
(see the world with curiosity, as a child. Drink your coffee as if it was the first time)
(you don´t need to achieve, do things for the sake of things)
(life never goes as we want, so by practising acceptance we can decrease the resistance that leads to suffering)
7. Letting go
(don´t hold on things that are in the past, feelings or thoughts. Practise letting go, nothing belongs to us)
8. Gratitude (Can you feel the power of gratitude? There is so much be can be grateful about: having a home, having food, clean water… Are we taking these things too much for granted? Feel how rich you are…)
(give as much as you can, not material things… This refers to time and care… Dedicate yourself to improve other people´s lives, even in small ways, and observe what happens to you and your own life)
How can we practise mindfulness?
There are formal ways of practising, such as sitting meditation, laying down meditation or walking meditation, but actually there are many more ways in which you can do it informally. Basically everything you do in your everyday, if you do it mindfully becomes mindfulness. It can be brushing your teeth, if you pay attention to the way your brush feels in your mouth, sensations of cold, etc. You can eat mindfully, paying attention to every bite of your meal, feeling the sensations that it triggers and how it feels in the different parts of your digesting system.
Being more mindful could keep you happier and healthier, among the benefits of mindfulness we can find anxiety reduction, prevention and treatment of depression (also prevention of possible relapses), improvement of cognition and concentration and stress reduction.
What are you waiting to give it a try?
– Carmen –