Paying attention, on purpose to the unfolding of experience moment by moment. Mindfulness is based on Buddhist meditation practice and works to increase your mental present. It is a nonjudgmental awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field (positive and negative) is acknowledged and accepted as it is.
Why is it Helpful?
Many people struggle to let go of intrusive thoughts and persistent negative emotions.
Without acknowledgement and due validation, negative thoughts grow in number and strength and become automatic, negatively impacting on a person’s daily functioning in overwhelming and devastating ways. The person who is in the grip of this kind of difficulty maintains a negative mindset about the past, the present, and the future.
There is no rest. Tensions build and depression and anxiety set in.
Mindfulness is the practice of taking hold of the mind and nurturing its contents by observing and accepting every feeling and thought that arises. Don’t be thrown by distinctions or judgements of good and bad. Mindfulness is also about accepting the negative.
The benefit of Mindfulness practice is that people can learn to be more self aware by acknowledging and validating their difficulties. Rather than maintain the situation through continuing to ignore distressing thoughts and emotions, people can practice awareness raising and letting go.
What are Mindfulness Skills?
Mindfulness skills will help you to focus on one thing at a time. Consequently, the attentional field becomes less clouded and foggy. You will become more aware of what you are thinking or feeling moment by moment.
There are many different mindfulness practices and part of the enjoyment of engaging with Mindfulness is your exploration of new skills. You can develop a toolkit of practices that appeal to you. Here are some simple Mindfulness exercises to get you started.
1. Focus on a Single Minute
To begin this exercise, find a comfortable place to sit in a room where you won't be disturbed and turn off any distracting sounds. Begin timing yourself with your watch or stopwatch. Then, without counting the seconds or looking at the watch, simply sit. When you think a minute has passed, check the watch again, or stop the time. Note how much time has really passed.
Ask yourself: What might this exercise mean about your perception of time? Could you last a minute or did you want to allow for more than a minute to pass? Do you feel hurried in life or do you need ‘time out’ to sit for longer?
2. A Basic Walking Meditation
One of the most pleasurable and easy meditation exercises is to meditate while walking. Take your shoes off in an open area like an oval or recreation ground where you will not run into anything. Walk on the grass. Slowly. One foot down, feeling the sensation on your skin as you move each part of your foot across the grass then put the other foot down. Heel first, then slowly toward the toe. Concentrate on the physical sensations of the grass touching your skin and clear the mind.
You can learn to meet situations in life with self-compassion, intelligence, and awareness and arrive at greater understanding and peacefulness with Mindfulness.
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