What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a 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 helps cultivate an awareness of the world around us, without anything being excluded. Mindfulness puts a great emphasis on sensual experience over analytical thinking.
How Does Mindfulness Work?
The purpose of mindfulness is to help the person live in the present moment rather than having their 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 deeds that are not based on past conditioning. Mindfulness, in practice, is the process of discerning the balance between the two.
The practice of mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment, living in the present moment, accepting yourself and focusing on your breath. Simple mindfulness exercises can be performed anytime and anywhere. Various research shows that engaging one's senses outdoors are especially beneficial. The following are some structured mindfulness exercises:
- Body scan meditation
- Sitting meditation
- Walking meditation
Meditation is one of the several key techniques to learn mindfulness. Learning how to observe, describe and participate in present experiences with a non-judgemental attitude is also an effective way of connecting with one's inner self and increasing mental focus.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness gives a person total control over their thoughts rather than be controlled. Releasing oneself from the cycle of stressful thinking boosts immunity, improves mental focus and alleviates a host of conditions that affect the mind, body and emotions such as the following:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Digestive issues
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
What Can You Expect From Mindfulness?
Time and space are important factors to consider in a mindfulness session because you need to pay attention to your thoughts, bodily sensations and environment in the present moment. You couldn't do this if you're in a noisy room or doing something else while focusing on your breathing pattern.
It's normal for the mind to wander from time to time, so don't be harsh on yourself when this happens. All you have to do is redirect your mind back to the present. Also, it's important to remember that a mindfulness experience differs from person to person. A beginner can last for 3 to 10 minutes, while a more experienced person can maintain their focus for 45 minutes or longer.
The ability to stay focused on the present may be challenging for first-timers, but practising mindfulness daily will improve your concentration over time. Mindfulness can be practised indoors, outdoors or remotely. There are many practitioners of this modality who offer classes online to assist people who want to reap the benefits of mindfulness from the comfort of their home or wherever they deem to be conducive.
Is Mindfulness Safe?
Mindfulness is extremely safe physically, emotionally and mentally. A person delves neither in their past nor into the future; their mind is constantly focused on their present thoughts and feelings. Maintaining their focus on the present leads to a better understanding of oneself, their thoughts and feelings and how to manage these effectively.