What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a modern concept that describes the adoption of a new mindset. It can measurably alter ones outlook and mood. Also, is used as an empowering tool in the self-management of anxiety and stress.
The practice of Mindfulness comes from many sources to make it up. Buddhism focuses on a mindful approach and is the concept of observing one’s thoughts and actions first originates. Practising mindfulness does not mean that you are Buddhist: it is simply where the original practice comes from.
It is important to know that Buddhism itself is not a religion – it is a practice when like-minded people adopt the ideas and concepts of a person called Buddha. It is a practice of inner reflection to gain a deeper understanding not to worship or follow.
To be mindful is to be aware of the incessant change and how it presents and disappears within us. In meditation, the focus is usually on the breath. Identifying the feeling from the mind and notice it only how it feels in the present moment, in the body.
“Mindfulness, as defined by the Buddha, means awareness of incessant change, of arising and vanishing, inside of your own body, which is the ultimate reality of your own life” – Paul Fleischman
The Brain and its addiction to fear.
As humans, we become addicted to our truth. This comes from when we were the caveman, our brain hasn’t evolved from our thoughts of fear. This fear-based mentality can then produce self-centred reactions without us being aware that this is happening.
An important function of the brain is to protect, to plan, create strategies and keep us safe. A very important function, however, when the brain has repetitive thought patterns, it can be stuck in our consciousness and this can be taken to extremes. A controlling mindset can be adopted and we start to believe our own thoughts to be the only truth. The practice of Mindfulness allows us to refocus on the truth, without needing to be right. Open to create trust with others and learn from other perspectives.
A challenge we have in making a healthy lifestyle is to be aware of what’s motivating us and what’s sabotaging. Our unconscious allows us not to pay attention to what is going on, the things that motivate us to tend to be a habit and not often consciously reviewed.
If you see the unconscious as the dark, Mindfulness is a way to find the light. Identifying our inner internal prompting, and how we created it is being mindful and allows us to focus on not reacting or getting involved within them. So next time you want that chocolate, pay attention notice are you really hungry or bored? Much of it is about avoiding what we need to to do?
Mindfulness and Emotion.
A memory, something on the TV or nothing at all that triggers the feeling, we can find ourselves challenged through thought or emotion which seems to come out nowhere. Awareness is when your mind chatter and choose how you let the mind develop thoughts.
The mind is like an energy generator; hence, if you keep your mind clear of negative thoughts, it generates positive energy. Here is a Mindful process to help you:
Think of a situation from the past that upset you or made you feel sad. Spend some time thinking about that situation and noticing how it feels in your body. This process will help you to deal with the thoughts in a mindful way.
Instead of doing what you would normally do, i.e. expanding those thoughts and feelings, stop – begin with the intention not to continue with the usual thought process.
Bring your awareness from your head and emotions, to your body.
Start to observe how that thought or emotion feels in your body only.
If you can name the feeling, do so. But if you can’t, just say, ‘This is how I’m feeling now’.
Simply be or sit with this feeling, while always concentrating on not letting it translate into any analysing or thinking.
Keep noticing and experiencing the feeling in your body only; after a while, the feeling should start to reduce or become more bearable.
Bring your awareness away from the body and back into the moment.
Now make short notes on how you felt in your body when you were thinking and expanding the negative thoughts, and then how you felt once you had moved to the body and sat with the feeling only.
Mindfulness and Resilience.
Mindfulness is used as a core strategy for improving resilience, focus and performance with leaders that team members want to follow. A mindful practice is to have conscious and intentional attentiveness to the present situation allowing self-monitoring. Self-monitoring fosters early recognition of cognitive biases, ability to avoid technical errors, being aware of emotional reactions, facilitation of self-correction and the development of relationships.