Mindfulness is a skill which when developed can make us more aware of what is going on both inside us and in the environment. It is about being conscious of what is going on moment by moment.
In our busy lives we can tend to stop noticing what is going on in our bodies, minds and our environment; the sights, sounds and smells that are going on around us pass us by.
Mindfulness allows us to start reconnecting the experiences in our bodies and minds. By raising our awareness, we become more conscious of our thoughts and feelings. If we are more mindful of what is going on we are more able to take control.
Why is it important to be aware of our thoughts feelings and behaviours?
By having greater awareness and being more conscious of what is happening for us moment by moment there is an increased likelihood that we can make positive changes to our minds and then potentially lives. The way we see ourselves has a huge influence on how we then present ourselves in our daily lives.
Stress and anxiety can be part of our lives. By being aware of our thoughts and increasingly recognising patterns in our thinking we can help ourselves recognise when our thoughts are taking over. When our thoughts do take over we can find it more difficult to focus on a solution. Mindfulness, can help with this as slowing down and focusing on what you are thinking allows the opportunity to breakdown these patterns. It can be helpful to ask ourselves if the thoughts we have are a hindrance or a help, are my thoughts overwhelming me or are they visible enough for me to think clearly?
To demonstrate how mindfulness can work perhaps try this little exercise!
When is the last time you really considered how you are sitting? Consider the seat; is it soft or hard, are your feet on the floor, is your back supported, what is the texture of the material, can you feel any lumps and bumps, are you hot or cold, are you comfortable, do you have any pain anywhere? Normally we sit down and don’t tend to think too much about it unless we are uncomfortable. If you can take a moment to really consider how you are sitting, ask yourself the above questions and then take it further, break down again how your seated experience is; what can you smell as you are sitting, what can you hear, what can you feel (consider different parts of your body) what can you see in front of you. This may appear a strange thing to do, but, it is a start to recognising just how much we tend not notice all of what is around us. Were you surprised at anything during the task?
Hopefully this very simple exercise will allow you to see the benefits of slowing down and exploring your life experiences in more detail.