What is mindfulness?
Take a moment to stop, notice your posture, be aware of your breathing. Can you feel your body? Do you feel any pain or strain anywhere? Is your mind racing? or are you calm? are you comfortable? Or a bit tense? Too hot? Cold? Just right? Are you hungry or thirsty? What are you feeling this second? Irritable? Happy? Sad? Bored? Relaxed?
For me, mindfulness is about – being completely IN THE NOW!!! It’s about noticing, this second, how you feel, what you think, what you want, without criticism or judgement.
It’s about learning to notice everything in your body, your mind and your environment: the gurgles in your stomach, the twitches in your back, the clenching of your jaw, the rain on the window, the clouds in the sky, the flowers in the garden, the smile on someone’s face, the sound of a car, a bird twittering on a branch, the itch on your nose, the whirr of your computer, or the last piece of a melting square of chocolate on your tongue.
Mindfulness is about noticing everything in the moment. It’s about learning to focus your attention in the present. This very second. This millisecond NOW!!
Mindfulness is about making the most of the now, as we are only ever in the now, the past is gone the future has not yet happened…What we do in the now however is creating our future. There are no mistakes as everything has got you to this point, what you do now will create your tomorrows.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”. “
So, make the most of your time as time is a gift”.
From the moment we are born, now is always what we have, there is never a time when our lives are not in the now, in this moment. The present moment is in fact, life itself. As George Harrison once said: “It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future… all there every is, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.
How can you make the most of “now”? By learning to be mindful. You may think that being mindful requires an ability to completely clear your mind and go off into an altered state in an attempt to get to a better place. Not so; mindfulness does not involve complex mediations routines. Mindfulness is not about having an empty mind or suppressing thoughts and feelings. Nor does it require years of practice, sitting in the lotus position in a flowing white robe on a beautiful beach, (although I wouldn’t mind doing just this) …
Mindfulness is about being Mindful…
- About being in the present
- A way to focus on the now
- A way to calm your thoughts down
- An effective means of relaxing
- A way to release your creativity
- A way to boost physical and emotional health
- A way to gain compassion and empathy
There is a growing body of evidence – psychological, physiological, scientific – that our 24/7, chaotic, pressurised, stress-filled lives are doing us immense harm.
Many of us are suffering from mental and physical health issues that can be helped significantly by taking the time to slow down and learn, simply to breathe.
Mindfulness is not about eliminating stress, as stress is a given in life, but it can help us deal with stress in a much more effective way. It has been proven to help relieve stress, anxiety and depression and can even relieve some of the symptoms of ailments such as ME (chronic fatigue syndrome), eating disorders, chronic pain, learning disabilities, and sleep disorders.
Mindfulness is now recognised by NICE (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) as an effective form of therapy for dealing with physical and psychological stress.
Why Mindfulness is so relevant to our lives now.
At its most extreme, worrying about the future can lead to anxiety disorders. Dwelling on the past can lead to depression. Research shows that the number of people in England who experience depression and anxiety has slowly but steadily risen in the last 20 years.
Feeling overwhelmed by the past or the future takes us away from living in the now, in the present. Too often, we let the present slip away. It’s easy to waste “now” time, missing what is happening in the only moment that really exists.
How mindful are you?
The real difficulties arise, however, when your mind gets lost in stressful thoughts about the past and the future: replaying painful experience from the past and imagining worst-case scenario about the future. At its most extreme, being stuck in the past leads to depression and being trapped in the future leads to anxiety. Or, it may be that what’s happening right now is painful. In those circumstances, you may live in denial; avoiding painful feelings and situations that you can’t accept or bear to live with.
All this rewinding back to the past and fast-forwarding to the future is exhausting and rarely productive. Therefore, mindfulness can help with work-life balance or at least for you to give yourself some time, some time to be still.
Eileen specialises in helping clients with inspired learning and leadership development, by supporting and equipping talent management with a variety of training or coaching packages.
Eileen works with senior management teams, individuals, independents, & other coach’s on executive, interpersonal or business coaching.
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