Mindfulness can be described as “a process of bringing one’s complete attention to the present moment”. As you begin to
practice mindfulness, you will incorporate unbiased observation and acceptance into the process. This will allow you to see your thoughts,
behaviors, and environment in a new way.
I want to try mindfulness, but I'm not sure where to start
How we see ourselves and the world around us can play a big role in our mental and physical well-being. What we think can affect our
behaviors, habits, and individual reality. The first step in mindfulness is to simply become aware of our thoughts, experiences, and
is an effort to take a step back and see something for what it is in that moment. Awareness in the moment uses
all senses...pay attention to sights, sounds, scents, and feelings. This awareness practice lends itself to observation and description
of what is going on in that moment. A crucial part of mindfulness comes into play at this time...the ability to observe and describe
moment/thing/thought/feeling WITHOUT judgement. To do this, your observation and description should be without summaries or labels. It
should simply be a descriptive account of your present experience in the moment.
A term often used to help understand mindfulness is “beginner’s mind”. This term helps to explain the awareness-observation-non-judgement process.
Beginner’s mind is the idea of seeing something for the first time. Think of a child seeing or experiencing something for the first time. The
child is seeing/experiencing it simply for what it is...there is no bias or judgement placed. This “beginner’s mind” starts to disappear as we
grow older and become influenced by our own experiences and the outside world. The practice of mindfulness allows you to fully be in the moment
without all of the bias or influence.
So, with that said, to begin to practice mindfulness...practice being present in each moment. Be aware of your surroundings and attuned to
your senses. Observe and describe using “beginner’s mind”...no labelling or judging allowed! See the situation simply for what it is. These are
the first steps in mindfulness.
How to start improving mindfulness
Mindfulness is about practice, the more you practice, the easier it will become. No one is mindful 100% of the time, so that is not the goal.
The goal is to ‘practice’ mindfulness as much as you can. Work on replacing multi-tasking with mindfulness, as the two simply do not work
well together. Be present in each moment. If you are driving, then drive...refrain from texting, talking on the phone, etc. Become aware
of the act/process of driving. So many people will say that they often don’t recall the drive home from work, that they accomplish this
on “auto-pilot”. That is the exact opposite of being mindful. The next time you drive home from work, pay attention, you may be amazed
at the things you may have missed. Try this with other activities such as cooking, exercising, etc. Being in the moment as much as
possible can have many benefits, with the simplest being that it can provide a break for the busy, multitasking mind and a host
of biological and psychological returns.
Reason why I should practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can help empower yourself with the mindset needed to succeed in taking on life’s many challenges. Some of the many benefits of
- Stress Reduction
- Increased Focus and Attention Span
- Greater Life Satisfaction
- Greater Ability to Regulate Emotions
- Increase in Working Memory
The benefits of mindfulness come with practice. The more you practice the greater the benefits. Our next newsletter will take this topic one
step further and discuss mindful meditation in more detail. Until then...practice, practice, practice!