Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.
Our thoughts create our emotions, and our emotions create our behaviour, so if you can get to the source then you can change your life.
Let me teach you how to be mindful, and how to integrate this practice into your daily life. I’m a Mindfulness Meditation certified level 1 coach and Yoga Teacher, and I’m so passionate about this subject.
As philosopher Vernon Howard said, “It’s a mistake for anyone to think he (or she) has lived too long in his old, unsatisfactory ways to make the great change. If you switch on the light in a dark room, it makes no difference how long it was dark because the light will still shine. Be teachable. That is the whole secret.”
What is Mindfulness?
The mind is like a muscle, and practising mindfulness is a way of keeping our brain fit and healthy.
But what is mindfulness?
Elizabeth Gilbert (who I love) says “while you are swinging through the vines of your thoughts you are never really where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment.”
So according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” And then noticing what arises.
I’m going to make an assumption that you probably don’t even realise how often you are not paying attention. How often are you busy thinking about all the things you have to do, hurrying through what you’re doing right now to get to the next task on your list? Or thinking about something that has already happened, going through conversations and past events in your mind, coming up with things you should have said or ways you wish it could have been different?
How much stress do you think that’s putting you under? That’s most people, most of the time.
Mind full vs mindful.
So when was the last time you paid attention to exactly what you are doing, right now? Noticing the smells around you, the sensation of your clothes on your skin, the sounds in the distance, the way the clouds look in the sky? Instead of being lost in your thoughts, you are fully conscious of life happening at this moment, in this moment, watching the experience unfold.
This is mindfulness.
How can mindfulness help you?
Proven benefits include:
+ Learning to manage stress, depression and anxiety
+ Reducing and managing chronic pain and illness
+ Dealing with challenging life situations, grief and loss
+ Dealing with sleep issues
+ Developing your clarity and intuition
+ Finding peace and contentment within yourself and your life
+ Understanding your mind and thought process
+ Creating more aware relationships with yourself and other people in your life
+ Developing more joy and connection
+ Improving your concentration and focus.
There is so much research being done on mindfulness at the moment. It’s being used by the UK National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence, there are over 250 mindfulness-based stress reduction clinics in the US, and across New Zealand and Australia schools are bringing in mindfulness meditation to help with concentration and focus.
This year in Australia, the second annual Mindful Leadership Forum was held with companies like Google, ebay, Virgin Australia and others attending to learn “the ‘must have’ skills for a new model of leadership such as self-awareness, authenticity and compassion”.
Isn’t that incredible?? Not only are these super innovative companies starting to see the power of the mind and mindfulness, but so is Western medicine.
And so can you.
Finding health is not just about food and exercise. It’s not just salads and green juice, or running on the treadmill, or popping vitamins.
Wellness is found in balance, in all things. Good food and dark chocolate, working up a sweat and long relaxing baths, dinner parties and nights of solitude and reflection, planning for the future and mindful presence. Getting lost in your hobbies, passions and loves; giving yourself fully to your relationships, friendships and children. It’s loving all aspects of your existence.
I spent a long time trying to find myself in altered states of consciousness. Parties, booze, and drugs. Maybe you’ve looked for yourself in other places too – your career, expensive possessions, fast food, the ‘cool’ crowd. Maybe it’s been all about pleasing other people – your parents, teachers, boyfriend, boss. I’ve been there and I totally get it.
Our society is completely based around finding happiness outside of ourselves, instant gratification. But what I’ve learned is that this isn’t the way to real health, wellness or happiness. We find this by getting to know, and working on, what we find inside ourselves.