We may be here physically, but often our mind is elsewhere.
In fact, research shows the mind is ‘wired’ to wander for 47% of our waking hours:
- The mind ruminates over the past - going over and over things we can’t change - or speculates unhelpfully about the future by worrying or over-planning.
- These thoughts can seem so real that they trigger emotions e.g anxiety
- The mind tries to hold our entire, extensive and complex ‘to-do list’ in our head
- The mind is often somewhere else altogether – so we are on autopilot with:
- Our actions – e.g. driving, eating
- Our behaviours – we react when situations (or people!) push our buttons
So - we are often not fully ‘present’ .... and we miss the richness of what’s here.
What is it - and how might it help me?
Simply - mindfulness is being aware of whatever is here, in this moment, without judgement.
Try it for yourself right now.
Just pause - and notice. Notice your thoughts, your breath, the physical sensations in your body … the sights, sounds and smells of what’s around you. How IS it to be here, right now, in this moment? Simply pause, breathe ... and be. There – you are aware.
And when you become aware of what’s here in the present moment, you have a choice point:
- You can choose where you want your attention to be
- You can choose to be fully present
- You can choose to respond to what life throws at you, with focus, calm and clarity – not just react
- You can choose to take an appropriate action, which is helpful and supports your health and well-being
Very simple – and very empowering.
Mindfulness is not a ‘magic wand’. It won’t make all the difficult stuff go away. But it WILL give you tools so that you can deal with it much more effectively.
Does it 'work'?
Yes - there’s an extensive database of scientific research proving mindfulness really does ‘work’.
But it is not a quick fix. Just like going to the gym to work out your physical muscles, if you want to become mindful you need to practice mindfulness regularly to embed a new mindfulness ‘habit’. It took us a long time to get into our old, unhelpful habits - so it takes time to replace them with new, healthy habits too ...
Regular mindfulness practice over a number of weeks is proven to bring about positive brain changes resulting in many benefits to physical and emotional health. These include decreasing stress and anxiety, and increasing effectiveness, memory, learning and empathy.
So - stay with it, embed it in your daily life ... and live your best life possible.
How can I bring mindfulness into my life?
I have been helping people to bring mindfulness into their life since 2012 - through courses, workshops and other events. My current mindfulness offerings are posted on my updates and events page - or please feel free to contact me to discuss other possibilities.
There’s a whole wealth of e-books, apps and websites out there, so I have recommended some of my preferred resources for you to explore.
If you are interested in bringing mindfulness into your company for you and your colleagues, check out my Workplace Mindfulness page.
And you may also like to explore the related practice of Forest Therapy - walking slowly, with mindful awareness and connecting deeply with nature. We all know that being outdoors is good for us - and now science proves that forest therapy has a wealth of well-being benefits, as well as reconnecting us to nature ... and ourselves.
Please do contact me for further information on any aspect of mindfulness or mindfulness-related practices - I would be delighted to help you.