Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Mindfulness has grown to be quite the buzz word nowadays. Omnipresent from offices to schoolhouses to clinics are now offering mindfulness courses. So what is Mindfulness, and how can it help us in the conditions of our daily lives? What are the advantages of Mindfulness Application?
What Is Mindfulness & how does it serve us?
Have you ever came to a destination only to realize you have no recollection of how you got there? Or abruptly know you've arranged to make your way into a whole pack of crackers and can't remember doing so? Trust me, you are not alone. This is a state of mind identified as "Autopilot." This mode, we are not conscious of what we are doing immediately. We're performing out of habit rather than being consciously concentrated on the assignment at hand. The result is that we may not be aware of much of our lives. When we are completing a job in autopilot, our minds shift and fantasize. Before we know it, we're preparing our following holiday, choosing what to have for supper, or depressing about the next work meeting. Our subconscious becomes recognized by doing something to accomplish the end result. We neglect to be present and savor the journey along the way.
Mindfulness is not ....
People seldom say, "I can't seem to stop thinking!" Mindfulness is NOT about quitting thinking and freeing the mind. If we try truly hard not to think about a memory, what is the first thing that will come into your mind? This same memory!! Mind's think. Naturally, that's what it does. We can develop Mindfulness to grow aware of our thoughts. If you can recognize them, you are not in them. Dan Harris from ABC News and author of the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier does a great job of clarifying. He describes it as
"The skill of knowing what's happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it."
The purpose of Mindfulness application
In Mindfulness, we are not seeking to be "calm" or "carefree" or go into a waving blissful trance. Feelings of calm and relaxation will frequently happen as a by-product of mindfulness training, but they are NOT the main objective. Jeff Brantley, MD, a psychiatrist, Buddhist practitioner, and one of Duke Integrative Medicine founders says:
"The goal in Mindfulness is awareness, not relaxation. People need to stop judging how aware they are by how relaxed they feel, but rather by how closely they notice what's actually happening."
To seize the day, we need to raise awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. By giving them attention, we can better control them, and there is the chance of taking them less personally.
But from where this Mindfulness come from?
We all know that Mindfulness is celebrated in the Western world, but how did it begin? Its origins are in India and Buddhist meditation. Buddhists believe that the key to rebirth is through self-inquiry and self-observation. They practice a type of meditation called Vipassana ("insight") meditation, which includes paying close attention to what is occurring in the body and the mind.
Why practice mindfulness
We all require a little guidance to seize the day at times. Mindfulness does just that and guarantees that we are working at peak performance in our lives. There is a large body of research-backed by scientific findings on the bonuses. Several researches indicate that it reduces anxiety, depression, self-hostility, insomnia, and post-traumatic symptoms.
1. Mindfulness helps to reduce stress.
We all feel pressure at times. It can be presumed, however, it's how we deal with the anxiety that makes us feel better equipped to embrace the day. At its most dangerous point, pressure can be debilitating, leaving us feeling strung out, sensitive and short-fused. In that matter, Mindfulness can help to improve. Researches have shown that Mindfulness loosens the nervous system and literally shrinks the brain's fight or flight center – the amygdala. This is the part of the brain accountable for turning on the stress response and making us feel strung out. The Washington Post reports that in one study, researchers found that practicing Mindfulness not only decreases the size of the amygdala but also decreases stress levels, leaving us more relaxed as a consequence.
And it doesn't stop there! Mindfulness is believed to increase the density of grey matter in the brain. More grey matter means we are properly able to concentrate, have improved memory retention, and enhanced learning capacity, all of which help fight stress. Consequently, it's recommended that you can provide yourself greater thinking power by exercising Mindfulness, just like increasing up your muscles in the gym.
2. Using Mindfulness to deal with physical pain
Of course, we all sustain from pain from time to time, whether it's the effect of exercise, ill health, accidents, or natural aging. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to help with all of these. Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn first introduced his 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program to control hospitals' pain over America in the 1970s. The program includes gentle yoga and the "body scan," Patients are supervised to direct their awareness to different parts of the body. Try Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn's supervised body scan meditation.
Further, research has determined that Dr. Kabat Zinn's 8-week program can help subjects deal with chronic pain and health problems. It can also aid in enhancing the immune system. Meantime, a new study in the Journal of Translational Psychiatry observed wound healing and improved immune system working manifest in groups of people who meditate. Practicing Mindfulness then has a variety of health advantages; it not only leads to a healthier mind but a healthier body too!
3. The best diet!!
Mindfulness is shown to work better than diets for long term weight loss. Right, you read correctly! Mindful consumption is the practice of paying attention to what and how we eat. Regularly we thoughtlessly eat our way through a meal, indulge, and over-eat. With mindful eating, the aim is to become conscious of every bite. We feel the taste feelings in the mouth, notice as we swallow the food, and recognize our cravings for more.
Infrequently, we are all swept away by our emotions. We may get irritated after an argument with our spouse, fly off the handle at our children, or accuse others of our low mood. All too often, we get stuck in autopilot and respond in unhelpful ways. Mindfulness improves self-control and allows us to change our automatic responses. Moment by moment, awareness of our thoughts and feelings provides us a window of opportunity to display before we react to a situation. Being mindful of our replies allows us to retrieve power over our emotions and act in more productive ways, leading to higher well-being and happiness.
5. How to bring it into your life
Of course, we can profit from greater self-control, less pressure, and being more present in our daily lives. So how can we bring Mindfulness into functional, everyday living? All circumstances in life can become a tool for Mindfulness. We can discern how we react in a conversation, get our attention to how we are feeling or become aware of the surrounding environment.
Thich Nhat Hanh – a monk in the Zen tradition, says in The Miracle of Mindfulness, "There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes to have clean dishes, and the second is to wash the dishes." In this way, we can drop into the present moment no matter how mundane the task. Rather than rushing to achieve a final outcome, we bring presence to the journey on the way.
How to get started practicing Mindfulness?
Getting started in meditation is simple. A great place to start your first meditation is this quick and simple 1 minute guided practice. You have the link from one of our YouTube video to help you through it.
Or you could take a course to get an overview of meditation and how to practice it. Many run in the evenings and are structured over 8 weeks. If you don't want to commit to signing up for a full course, drop-in classes are available in most areas too. You can do it at home too by follow this beginner course on Udemy For the brave, you could try total immersion in a 7-day silent meditation retreat, which will give an excellent foundation in mindfulness practice.
Give Mindfulness A Go…
So Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment uniquely. It helps us maintain healthy bodies and healthy minds, leading us to make the most out of life and seize the day. If you haven't tried it already, why not give it a go and find all the buzz?