Updated: Mar 3, 2020
A recent research showed, when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.
Mindfulness is 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 awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
In essence, mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens, as well as acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment, without judging whether they are “right” or “wrong”, and without looking at the past or imagine the future. We observe and allow the here and now to be present.
What is Mindfulness?
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, whether through meditations or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause when someone talks to you or when you brush your teeth or eat lunch. All of these can be done mindfully.
Often I hear people avoid meditation as it seems like something hard to achieve, yet, if we perceive meditation as exploring and not a fixed destination, it will be easier to grasp and achieve. By building mindfulness into daily life, you can practice mindfulness even when you’re too busy to meditate.
How To Mindfully Meditate?
Enjoy the positive effects of mindful meditation.
It’s important to understand that when we meditate our head does not become un-distracted, or vacuumed free of thought. Meditating means we notice our mind, our sensations, emotions and thoughts in a mindful way.
Here are some tips on basic of mindfulness practice:
1. Set time and space - it can be 5, 10 or 45 minutes, on a cushion, a chair or earth.
2. Make sure your body is comfortable - if you are seated on a chair feel your both feet touch the floor. On a cushion cross your legs comfortably. Straighten your upper body so you have a natural spine curvature, rather than a stiff one. Place your upper arms at your sides, with the forearms situated comfortably.
3. Eyelids - Drop your chin a little and allow your gaze to fall gently downwards. Your eyelids can be either closed or slightly open. There is no need to focus your eyes on something. You can simply let what appears before your eyes to be there.
4. Follow your breathe - draw your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving through your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly, or your chest as the breathe goes in and out.
5. Observe your present moment - The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Naturally your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. Don’t worry. When you get around to noticing your mind wandering-it could be in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes- gently, without judgment, return your attention to the breath.
6. When you are ready, gently lift your gaze - Take a moment and notice your thoughts and emotions, how does your body feel right now. Pausing for a moment allows you to decide how you’d like to continue on with your day.
Get Inspired, Try It!
That’s it! That’s the practice. It may seem simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. The work is to keep practicing it and notice the change as time passes.Good luck!