What is mindfulness and do you practice it?
Mindfulness in simple terms is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. Is mindfulness missing in your life?
If you answered “no” then you likely have understood the idea of it and incorporated it into your life. You can probably say that it has given you a sense of peace and created benefits for you. If you answered, “yes” that it is missing, then you’re like most of the population. But over the last few decades it has become more popular in the United States. Jon Kabat-Zinn was a voice we began to hear in 1979 and wrote several books on the topic.
He defines it in this way: ”Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
Does this make sense to you and do you practice any form of it? It made a lot of sense to me after my former husband died by suicide. I needed something to quiet my mind and it was instrumental in my recovery. Many people stay stuck in their grief. They are unable to move past the defining moment that changed their life. Grief wants to keep you living in the past. It tried to do it to me too. My thoughts were constantly focused on my life in the past and the pain I felt.
But mindfulness began to change me!
What mindfulness does is bring us to the present moment. It took a conscious effort for me to become aware of what I was doing at any given moment. For example, a simple one I started with was washing dishes. I washed them very slowly and deliberately. I became aware of different sensations while doing them. Such as: I felt the warm temperature of the water as it ran across my hands and fingers. The citrus aroma from the dish soap suddenly filled the room. I held the plate and noticed the smoothness of it. My fingers gently ran across the knife’s sharp edge. Yes, it took me longer to do the dishes but it brought me to the “now” and removed my anxiety. I felt much more calm. I actually learned to love the process of cleaning the dishes.
That was just a simple task I started with, then I began to incorporate it more and more into my life with other tasks, such as making the bed and many household chores. I also began a regular practice of yoga!
The process brought me away from the negative thoughts. Being mindful became part of my daily routine and I slowly became aware of the power it held.
Mindfulness improves your daily life because you can begin to really experience things, such as the taste of your food instead of just gobbling it down. You will be able to really listen to other people when they talk with both your ears, instead of one listening to someone in the other room. It can improve your relationships and the quality of your life.
We can be mindful about everything, not just the tasks we complete, but also about our thoughts.
What I am talking about is everyday mindfulness but you can also begin a practice of mindfulness meditation, which is a focused work. There are many resources available if you want to begin and I recommend Zinn’s books.
If you haven’t tried it why don’t you give it a chance? Test to see if it makes a difference.
I hope this begins your journey of a more fulfilled life.
Robin Chodak, life coach(CLC),Spiritual Coach(CSC),NLP Practitioner
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