What is Mindfulness?
The Oxford 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.”
Mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, but that many people lose touch with due to the various stressors and distractions of daily life. The good news is we can re-learn mindfulness through practice. Meditation and psychology professionals are increasingly recommending mindfulness practice as a powerful and effective tool for increasing mental and physical wellbeing and exploring and healing emotional distress. Mindfulness can help us let go of things we no longer need and fully enjoy and appreciate the things we truly value and choose to keep and maintain in our lives. Those things can be physical belongings, activities, emotions, and relationships.
You can develop a mindfulness practice through guided or independent daily meditation, or shorter moments and check-ins throughout the day. If you would like to begin or deepen your mindfulness practice, my sustainable lifestyle coaching can include mindfulness moments and check-ins. It might feel challenging at first but will come more and more naturally over time with consistent practice.
Living mindfully means being present in your mind and body rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It means noticing physical sensations and emotions as they come, accepting and processing them without judgment. Many people learn to hide or suppress certain emotions, which allows those emotions to accumulate and often manifest in other ways such as anxiety, addiction, and relationship problems.
When we learn to accept, appropriately express, and process all of our diverse emotions, we free ourselves from the emotional baggage we would otherwise collect. Mindfulness allows us to live engaged in and vividly experiencing the present with calm and openness.
Mindfulness is backed by science that shows it can actually change neural connections in the brain, which can replace bad habits and negative thought cycles with more positive ones. One good resource for mindfulness science and practice is www.mindful.org.