‘Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose-in the present moment-non-judgementally to things as they are.’ Jon Kabat-Zin.
This is something that I have been practicing for nearly 3 years and it has had a profound impact on my life in many ways. Most significantly in my overall feelings of happiness, well-being and satisfaction with life. It has helped me to put things into perspective and has opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the word.
I started my journey into mindfulness after I read a book called, ‘The Power of Now’ by Ekhart Tolle, whose main message is to live in the present moment, as this is the only moment we actually have. The past has been and gone, and the future is yet to happen, but we often spend enormous amounts of time thinking and worrying about both. Many of us wish the working week away, trying to get to the weekend or even wish the weeks away trying to get to a holiday or other event we deem to be ‘better’ than the here and now. This can result in us not living our lives to the full.
In our increasingly busy lives we also tend to try and focus on more than one thing at a time. We call this multi-tasking and some people actually see this as a skill to be cultivated. In truth, you are only really ever doing one thing at a time, it’s just the speed with which you switch from one thing to another that changes. It is much better, where possible, to focus on one thing at once, giving it your full attention and doing it mindfully. The results are likely to be better and you avoid going on ‘automatic pilot’. I’m sure many of you will have experienced that feeling of driving somewhere and, when you arrive, realising that you can’t remember the journey at all! I think this may be where the expression, ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ comes from.
Much research has been done on the practice of mindfulness and here are some of the known benefits which can be broken down into 3 areas: mental, physical and general well-being.
- Helps to keep our emotions in balance
- Fights depression
- Fights anxiety and stress
- Fights memory loss
- Fights PTSD and other trauma
- Improves academic performance
- Helps with substance abuse
- Helps with eating disorders
- Helps with OCD
- Aids weight loss
- Helps with pain
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Improves sleep
- Helps IBS
- Lower blood pressure
- Increases happiness
- Helps you become fully engaged in activities
- Makes us better able to deal with problems
- Creates better relationships
- Increases self-esteem
In an increasingly hectic world, practising mindfulness can make a huge difference to your life and I would recommend it to everyone. The great thing about it, is that you don’t have to make major life changes. It is possible to start making small changes right now and see immediate results.
If you’re interested in finding out more or attending one of my 8 week mindfulness courses, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lisa Treasure