Many of us spend most of our lives rushing around, dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, causing us to be ill-at-ease or unhappy in our present lives.
Mindfulness is the simple act of paying more attention to the present moment.
By becoming more aware of your own thoughts and feelings right now (without judging them) can help you to see the world around you in a new light.
As you learn to live more in the present moment, you will begin to improve your mental well-being and feel better about your life and the world around you, leading to being more able to take positive steps to develop your life the way you want it.
Mindfulness isn’t just about becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings in our heads – part of becoming more aware includes how those thoughts and emotions affect not just our behaviour but the way it affects our physical body too. In this respect, noticing how we hold our body and noticing bodily sensations like touch, sight, sound, breathing, smell and taste will all help us to become more centred in ourselves.
It’s important here to note that while practising mindfulness or awareness, you are not actively trying to change or fix anything and you are not judging yourself, rather you are allowing yourself to clearly see the present moment as it is. This in itself can help us to understand ourselves better and lead to positive change in the way that we see and interpret ourselves and the world around us.
With practise, you will begin to see patterns in your thoughts and feelings and notice how easy it is to get caught up in them. Over time, you can train yourself to stand back from these thought streams rather than letting them take a hold over you and see them for what they are – they are simply thought streams or mental events that don’t have control over you as they have no objective reality.
If you do find at any time that an issue has come up that you are finding difficult to let go, ask yourself the following question: “Is worrying or brooding over this issue going to solve it, or have I just got caught up in the thought stream?”
As you become more mindful or more aware of the present, you will begin to notice the signs of stress or anxiety earlier than you used to and this will help you to more easily deal with any issues sooner and nip them in the bud.
For a guide to get you started, see my article “Simple Mindfulness Techniques for you to Practise”.
For additional help, you might also like to take a look at the following CDs, DVDs or books on Mindfulness:
N.B.: It’s advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional if you have any concerns regarding your physical or mental health. Alternative therapists seek to work in conjunction with the medical profession. Always consult a registered/licensed alternative therapist before using any alternative therapy.
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