What is mindfulness?
Have you ever started eating a snack bar, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty packet in your hand? Or been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize that you remember nothing about your journey? Most people have! These are common examples of “mindlessness,” or “living on automatic pilot.” In our modern, busy lives, we constantly multi task. It’s easy to lose awareness of the present moment, when we become lost in our efforts to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands.
As humans we are often “not present” in our own lives. We often fail to notice and be grateful for the good things about our lives, fail to hear what our bodies are telling us, or poison ourselves with toxic self-criticism.
Human minds are easily distracted, habitually examining past events and trying to anticipate the future. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do, however learning to do this in a way that is non-judgmental and without self-criticism can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.
Mindfulness is a way of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives, without wanting to change it. It will not eliminate life’s challenges, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner that benefits our heart, head, and body. It helps us to recognise and step away from habitual, often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday events. It provides us with a scientifically researched approach to cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and it can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in attitudes and behaviour.
Who is it for?
Mindfulness practice is for anyone from all walks of life no matter what age. It’s now being taught in a wide range of social settings and groups of people, some of which include the NHS, in schools to children and teachers, in the armed forces, in the prison service and in many organizations. The Government have also developed a Mindfulness Working Party that highlights the potential benefits for introducing mindfulness in the workplace.
It features a variety of guided practices, stories, FAQs and resources to support your own practice. Enjoy!