What Mindfulness is

 

If you ask me to describe what Mindfulness is, I would say it is a way of connecting mind, body and heart so we can experience a sense of wholeness.  That means, when things get stressful, busy, scary or uncertain, we feel more resourced.  When we feel more resourced, we can see more options.  We’re more likely to be able to meet life’s challenges without losing our cool.  And, if we do lose our cool, it’ll be easier for us to find it again

However well or badly our lives appear to be going, we can all face difficulties.  Life is often unpredictable and things don’t always go the way we would like them to.  We can’t change that but we can change what we do when this happens.  This is where mindfulness comes in.  It helps us to see (in a very gentle and non-judgemental way) how our habitual reactions to things we don’t like or don’t want, contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety, worry, disappointment and sadness.  Mindfulness helps us to see that we can choose a different response if we want to – one that doesn’t create or increase these feelings

For me, one of the most wonderful things about practising mindfulness is that it opens up a world of possibilities.  It’s easy to assume that we just are how we are, but that isn’t true.  The way that we are (how we react, how we move, how we speak, what we think etc) is influenced by the habits that we have learned and reinforced over time.  Mindfulness helps us to see those habits more clearly and to decide which ones are serving us well and which ones aren’t.  It’s not about changing who we are, it’s more about making space for the person we are behind those habits to emerge.  Hooray!

So, practising mindfulness can help us to feel more present and grounded – more in touch with ourselves and our surroundings.  It’s a way of reconnecting with our innate kindness, our wisdom and our authentic nature.  It has the potential to transform our lives and our relationships

Why learn mindfulness?

Some of the reasons that people learn mindfulness include the following:

  • Reduce anxiety and worry
  • Feel happier
  • Work with chronic pain or illness
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Learn to ‘switch off’ and feel calmer
  • Manage and reduce stress
  • Improve or deepen relationships
  • Learn to navigate stressful communications
  • Develop a meditation practice
  • Improve decision-making
  • Feel more focused and alert
  • Engage more with life
  • Experience more ease and pleasure