What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the awareness of the present moment without judgement. It involves paying attention to our feelings, thoughts, and behaviour as they are happening – without suppression or intervention.
The key to mindfulness is to simply observe.
We can be mindfully observant of our inner or outer world. Our inner world is what is happening within us. For example, our thoughts, feelings and physiology. Our outer world can include anything that we perceive in our environment through our five senses – smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight.
A Useful Metaphor
The following metaphor is useful for understanding mindfulness in action.
When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, your mind’s ocean is rough with big waves. When you’re successfully mindful during such occasions, you’re effectively providing yourself with a raft that you can use to ride the waves and keep yourself dry. However, when you’re not mindful during these times, often the waves can easily engulf you, leaving you at the complete mercy of the elements.
Why is Mindfulness Powerful?
The power of Mindfulness resides in its ability to help create distance between life’s events and associated reactions. Given reactions are proceeded by thought and feelings, mindfulness helps instil the discipline of pausing and observing before reaction. Therefore, Mindfulness can provide the opportunity to change normal reactions. With continued practice and dedication, this could likely result in not being at the mercy of ‘knee-jerk’ destructive reactions.
What a great power to have! Mindfulness is an increasingly required skill in the hectic world of today. Countless studies have shown the benefits to well-being as well as performance.
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