Mindfulness is about being in the present, in the here and now, experiencing the moment as it is without judgement and being better able to respond to circumstances rather than react.
Being mindful isn't only about experiencing pleasant thoughts it is about being present in all of life's situations that we encounter, being more aware of what we feel, how we feel and being better able to make calm, non-judgemental responses with loving kindness towards ourselves and others.
Through practicing mindfulness exercises on a regular basis we are able to challenge habit based thinking and develop alternative ways of thinking and responding. This results in benefits in our mental, physical and emotional well-being.
There is evidence now which not only points to the benefits in health but also demonstrates positive changes in the structure of the brain. There are findings in neuroscience which demonstrate positive changes in the brain as a result of mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness being discussed on the BBC breakfast show.
Mindfulness based interventions are acknowledged to be helpful in many areas of health needs, both physical and psychological. It generally supports health promotion and prevention of ill health (Halliwell, 2011).
Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”
( Segal, Williams &Teasdale, p77, 2002).
Mindfulness has its roots in meditative traditions and is most commonly linked with Buddhist practice. In the Buddhist view a clear distinction is made between mood states that are directly aroused by external and internal events. The challenge is not to suppress or repress emotion but to identify how they arise, how they are experienced and how they influence ourselves and others
( Ekman, Davidson, Ricard, Wallace, 2005).
When we are being mindful, we are choosing to notice the details of our experiences, just as they are in this moment and without judging or trying to change them in the first instance. Being mindful, we are waking up to what our senses are telling us (Silverton, 2012).
A key instruction is to be aware of the flow of thoughts and emotions in a non- judgemental way, in order to avoid resistance to anything. (Gilbert and Choden, 2013)
Mindfulness and science
Sara Lazar discusses the science of Mindfulness
What happens in the brain when we practice mindfulness?
Principles of mindfuless
- Non judging
- Beginner’s Mind
- Letting Go
Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing
He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive --
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn't matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn't matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn't matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.
He says don't be afraid.
Don't be afraid.
Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
P248 Williams, M; Penman, D; Mindfulness: a practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World. London: Piatkus.