Do you remember what happened on your route to work this morning? Do you remember driving to work this morning?
By dinnertime, can you remember what you had for lunch? Did you eat lunch?
For most of us the answer is no. We can’t remember. We were running on autopilot. Often our attention is so absorbed by our wandering mind that we’re not really present in our own lives. We get caught up in the act of doing, and the struggle to get things done, we fail to notice the beauty of life. We forget to enjoy the journey.
Mindfulness is the opposite. Mindfulness is the conscious and deliberate direction of our attention on the present. Mindfulness is an awakening. It’s living in the moment rather than dwelling in the past or anticipating the future. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings as they arise without judgment.
When you’re awake to what’s happening around you, to what you’re doing, and what you’re thinking, you can actively choose where to place your attention and how to react to your thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness reduces the stress and anxiety that the never ending current of thought creates, and it helps us gain insight and awareness through the observation of our own minds.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
- Eases Stress and Anxiety
- Alleviates Loneliness and Symptoms of Depression
- Increased Clarity of Thinking and Perception
- Improves Focus and Attention
- Strengthens Memory Function
- Helps Develop Empathy and Compassion
- Builds Confidence
- Encourages Connectivity
- Reduces Compulsive and Addictive Tendencies
- Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
- Boosts Immune System
- Increases Brain Function
- Helps with Insomnia
- Intensifies Sexual Desire and Performance
- Improves Pain Management
How Can I Practice Mindfulness?
Being mindful is an innate human ability. You don’t need to buy any products, learn any special techniques, or change who you are. You already know how to be mindful, you just have to remember to do it.
To cultivate more mindfulness in your life, begin with a 30-minute walk each day. While walking, consciously observe the things that are going on in your environment. Breathe deeply and smell the air. What does it smell like? Hear the sounds of the street and observe the beauty that surrounds you.
When you’re eating your lunch, enjoy the meal you have prepared or that has been prepared for you. Think about the time and effort that went into getting this food to your table, the delicious taste, and the power this food has to nourish your body.
Use mindfulness as a way to create space for yourself. Space to think, space to breathe, space between you, and your thoughts, and your reactions.
Try engaging in meditative practice. Meditation is a time out. It’s private time that you set aside for yourself each day when the rest of the world is on hold. Mindfulness Meditation gives us permission to unplug and encourages us to observe our thoughts as they drift through our mind and to let them go.
Mindfulness is not complicated, but it requires intention and consistency. Start investing in yourself today.
To learn more about Mindfulness visit The Centre for Mindfulness Studies’ website www.mindfulnessstudies.com.
Or, for more information about The Farm in Stouffville’s use of mindfulness in our addiction treatment programs, give us a call at 1-877-353-2777 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.