3 Simple Ways to Practice Mindfulness Now!

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” ~ James Baraz

 

Feeling as though you are on Groundhog Day? Overwhelmed by everything you have to do in your day?

If so, you may like to keep reading as today I am going to be discussing mindfulness.

In this post I am going to explore –

So, What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness in everyday life is the ultimate challenge and practice. It is a way of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full range of our humanity – often seen in playful children fully experiencing life in the here and now. Mindfulness is described by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) “as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally” (p.4).

Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein (2010) report “in Sanskrit, it’s known as smrti, from the root word smr, meaning “to remember” and in Pali, the language of the earliest Buddhist scriptures, it’s known as sati (mindfulness)” (p.15). The attitudinal foundations of mindfulness practice include – non-judgingself-compassion, beginner’s mind, trust/self-reliance, non-striving, equanimity, acceptance/acknowledgement and letting-be.

Through the practice of mindfulness, individuals can become more aware of their thoughts, feelings and body sensations in the present moment. This observing, non-reactive perspective enables you to consciously respond with clarity and focus, rather than react out of a habitual pattern. It opens up the possibility of working more wisely with difficulties in life and choose what is nourishing to ourselves and others.

In the following clip Jon Kabat-Zinn also discusses mindfulness as “…presence of heart”. You can see more by clicking on the clip –

 

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

As indicated above, through the practice of mindfulness, individuals can become more aware of their thoughts, feelings and body sensations in the present moment. This observing, non-reactive perspective enables you to consciously respond with clarity and focus, rather than react out of a habitual pattern. It opens up the possibility of working more wisely with difficulties in life and choose what is nourishing to ourselves and others.

Some of the other benefits of mindfulness include –

  • decreasing the symptoms of anxiety,
  • increasing a sense of empathy and spirituality,
  • decreasing symptoms of chronic pain,
  • reduce stress levels in healthy people,
  • decreasing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder,
  • increasing well-being,
  • helpful in reducing the effects of psoriasis,
  • preventing relapse in depression and drug addiction, and
  • decreasing stress and enhancing quality of life for those with breast and prostate cancer.

What are the Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness?

The attitudinal foundations of Mindfulness practice are:

  • Acceptance and acknowledgement – bringing openness to, kindness towards and welcoming of experience just as it is in the moment.
  • Non-judging – assuming the stance of impartial witness to any experience (i.e. your thoughts, feelings or body sensations).
  • Self-compassion – allows you to cultivate love for yourself as you are (without criticism or self-blame).
  • Beginners mind – a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time with fresh curiosity and vitality.
  • Trust and self-reliance – a faith in the validity of our own experience and allowing you to see for yourself (from your experience) what is true and untrue.
  • Non-striving – an attitude of willingness to allow the present to be the way it is without trying to fix things. Striving may interfere with fully knowing the present and so being able to respond to it rather than to react.
  • Letting be – simply letting things be as they are – with no need to try and let go of whatever is present.
  • Equanimity – involves balance and fostering wisdom. Equanimity allows you to be with change with greater wisdom and compassion.

 

Is Mindfulness Meditation the same as other Types of Meditation?

There are essentially two forms of meditation – insight and concentration. Mindfulness meditation is considered insight meditation as it brings awareness to the whole body and mind in the present moment. Mindfulness meditation brings attention to the whole experience (thoughts, smells, sight, tastes, body sensations, sounds) without judging or altering the experience in any way. The key is to simply observe, which is generally different from what we usually do. In our everyday life, we usually do not see life as it is – we see life through a screen of thoughts, concepts and memories and we mistake those mental object as reality itself. Subsequently, life flows by unnoticed.

Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein (2010), indicate that as you practice, “… you begin to discover the causes of your own suffering and discover a pathway to greater freedom” (p.8).

Concentration meditation focuses more on concepts, imagery and mantras.

 

3 Simple Ways to Practice Mindfulness Now!

Following are 3 simple ways to practice mindfulness in your day..

  1. Pay attention to your breath – yes sit down and just be with your breath. Pay attention to the in-breath and out-breath. You can sit and pay attention to the breath for 30 seconds or 20 minutes – it is totally up to you and how much time you have!
  2. Connect with your senses – slow down and discover the beauty around you. When was the last time you invested some time to walk along the beach and noticed the sand between your toes or savoured a meal and really tasted the food you were eating?
  3. Pay greater attention in the shower – next time you take a shower or bath, pay attention to the temperature of the water, the feeling of the water on your skin and/or the different smells within the shower.

 

I hope this post has given you some more information on mindfulness and 3 simple ways to practice mindfulness now. If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

References:

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York, USA: Hyperion.

Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2010). A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, USA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

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