Mindfulness is being in the present moment without judging.
This awareness is the basis of a different state of consciousness, and is used in therapy to treat PTSD, CPTSD, anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness seems easy by definition. At first, it’s difficult to put the monkey mind to rest but soon enough you’ll go back to it whenever you need to calm down, relax or focus.
What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” -Jon Kabat-Zin
In 1970 psychologist Jon Kabat Zin developed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to treat his patients.
He run tests on buddhist monks who are well known for their meditation capabilities and neurologists found impressive results.
It’s widely known among scientist and therapists that there’s a positive correlation between mindfulness and wellbeing.
The first exercise will introduce you to mindfulness. It’s where all the other variations stem from: Your breath.
When in doubt always go back to your breath.
1. Breathe Mindfully
Find a comfortable position.
Focus your attention on your breathing. What does it feel like? Listen to the sound.
Bring attention to your belly. Feel it rise and expand when you inhale. Feel your belly fall every time you exhale.
Continue to focus on your breathing.
Whenever thoughts come up and you notice your attention drift away, acknowledge that thought and let it go like a cloud in the sky.
Go back to your breathing.
2. Conscious Observation
Choose an object. Any object. A cup of tea, a pen. Any object at hand.
Now let it absorbe your complete attention. Just observe. Being conscious of what you are looking at gives you a sense of being aware.
Now observe how the mind frees itself of thoughts and focuses on the present moment.
You can practice this exercise using your ears as well. Close your eyes and listen. What sounds are present in the room?
3. Body Scan
4. Count to Ten
Center your attention on counting. 1,2,3… If you loose concentration and thoughts interfere start again.
What usually happens is this “1,2,3..I forgot to call Margaret” “1,2,3, I need to buy milk” “There comes a thought again…” 1,2,3
Seems easy but it is not! ha!
5. Sit Down and Observe Your Thoughts
This is a good exercise for people that are very stressed and busy and can’t focus on breathing long enough.
Just sit down. And don’t try to eliminate or let go of thoughts. Simply observe them when they come up. Don’t get involved with them.
Notice your thoughts as if you were an outside observer: “Ok, now I’m thinking about my meeting with Carol tomorrow”
Enjoy the weekend!