WHAT IS MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness practice is the development of present moment awareness where thoughts and feelings are recognized without judgment and with acceptance.
This practice allows one to put space between the stimulus and the response which enables better decision making and less impulsivity. We become aware of automatic unhelpful thinking and response patterns. We recognize that we can choose how to respond rather than react. This enables us to take control of and become the observer of and not a slave to our thoughts. As we know thoughts affect our emotions which in turn affects our behaviour. We have about 60,000 thoughts per day many of which are ruminating about the past or worry about the future. This can cause stress and anxiety which can over prolonged periods be detrimental to our wellbeing. We learn that life happens, there are things we cannot control however we can control and choose our actions and reactions. Accepting things as they are without having to change them is a liberating revelation.
Mindfulness has become very popular and with good reason. This secular practice has been scientifically validated to open us up to a healthier and happier way of being. It enables us to tap into the calm beneath the waves and bumps in life. This is a life skill that not just benefits the individual but society as a whole as it fosters compassion, kindness and understanding. The practice of mindfulness is simple yet evokes a plethora of personal and social benefits.
Be calm, be still
WHY LEARN MINDFULNESS
Western culture and social trends navigate us towards living a fast-paced, materialistic, demanding and digitally dominated life. We take things for granted, we feel entitled and self-centered. This can have a negative impact on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It can cause unhappiness and suffering.
Mindfulness is an antidote to these shortcomings. It fosters gratitude, kindness and altruism. Being mindful makes us happy. We become more aware, flexible and compassionate individuals. This leads to pro-social, interconnected communities.
Mindfulness is included in psychotherapeutic programmes as it leads to positive effects on psychological wellbeing well beyond the time of practice. Breathing techniques enable one to effectively destress, manage anxiety, calm the mind and emotions. As the mind can only focus on one thing at a time the breath serves as the anchor of our attention hence steering the mind away from the stressor. The quality of the breath directly impacts the quality of our life.
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS PRACTICES
focus, attention, clarity of thought leading to increased ability to learn, listen and communicate.
heightened memory and problem-solving skills.
improved organizational ability and higher test results.
greater emotional intelligence leading to cooperation, patience, kindness, respect and generosity.
nurturing and cultivation of self-accepting, positive, motivated individuals
fostering of balanced, happier, connected, open individuals.
increased resilience in coping with everyday challenges and quicker recovery from trauma or stress.
improved mental, physical and emotional health have been documented.
A decrease in the following has been validated by scientific research and development.
Individuals report less stress, anxiety, tension, fear and worry.
stress diminishes the ability to learn which causes more stress. This can lead to depression, addictions and eating disorders.
impulsivity, aggression, negative emotions, judgment, peer pressure and burn out are all diminished by practicing mindfulness.