The dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” This is of course true, but in fact it is so much more.
So what is it?
Mindfulness is actually a simple form of meditation, that thanks to the growing trend for self-care has become well-known and much more popular in recent times. A typical mindfulness meditation involves focusing all your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. As you focus on your breath in this way, it allows your thoughts to arise in your mind and little by little you begin to let go of struggling with them.
According to the NHS website, Professor Mark Williams who is the former director of the Oxford Mindfulness centre, said that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
What does it do?
Through the use of mindfulness meditation, you come to realise that thoughts will come and go as they please but that you are NOT your thoughts. They can appear in your mind as you’re breathing and then just as easily disappear like the popping of a bubble.
The more you practice the art of mindfulness, the more you come to realise that all thoughts (including the negative ones) are simply transient; they will come and go, but it is up to you whether you act upon them.
You could say that mindfulness is about observation. It is about observation of ourselves without criticism. When you feel bogged down with stress or unhappy thoughts, rather than taking them personally and allowing them to affect your mood and demeanour, you can learn to treat them as if they were simply black clouds in the sky that need to be blown away for the sun to come out.
How to Begin
What you need to remember is that mindfulness is ready and available to use at any point during our lives, we simply need to take the opportunity and the moment, whether it’s 2 minutes or 2 hours.
To begin you can take the following steps;
- Set aside some time to practice mindfulness. In the beginning, set aside some time and space to get used to bringing mindfulness into your life.
- Remember your goal is simply to be in the moment. To pay attention to what is happening at that very minute inside your mind. The aim is not to achieve a state of calm and peace but to be fully in the moment.
- Don’t judge yourself. Whatever thoughts arise are meant to be there. It is you who chooses whether or not to action them.
“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” Thich Nhat Hanh.
If you find that you are still struggling with your stress or anxiety Reiki can help to promote relaxation and is great alongside practising your own mindfulness.
To find out more or to book a session with me please get in touch.