What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the mental state where the person is consciously aware of the present moment, while also being conscious of their thoughts, feelings and wider environment. The practice of mindfulness is derived from meditation and is important in cultivating an awareness of the world around us, without anything being excluded. Mindfulness puts a great emphasis on sensual experience over analytical thinking.
What is the purpose of mindfulness?
The purpose of mindfulness is to help the person live in the present moment rather than having thoughts all over the place. It also helps differentiate a person’s reactions and actions. Theoretically, reactions are defined as actions based on past conditioning while actions are defined as the physical or verbal action that is not based on past conditioning. Mindfulness, in practice, is the process of discerning the balance between the two.
Different mindfulness exercises
The following are some simple ways of practicing mindfulness:
- Pay attention
- Live in the moment
- Accept yourself
- Focus on your breathing
Simple mindfulness exercises can be performed anytime and anywhere. Various research has indicated that engaging one’s senses outdoors are especially beneficial.
Meditation is one of the several key techniques to learn mindfulness. Other than that, the following skills can help with the enhancement of the correct approach:
A mindfulness practitioner can help encourage a client to reflect on some unhelpful or negative thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and there is no need for a quiet environment to practice it.
The following are some structured mindfulness exercises:
- Body scan meditation
- Sitting meditation
- Walking meditation
Benefits of mindfulness
Being mindful offers a number of benefits which include:
- Boosting immunity
- Reducing anxiety and stress
- Combating depression
- Improving mental focus and attention
- Encouraging healthy eating habits
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing chronic pain
- Improving sleep
- Alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties
- Decreasing job burnout
- Improving diabetes control
In addition, mindfulness meditation has become an important element for the treatment of various psychological issues and problems such as:
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders