What is Mindfulness?
You may have heard of the term 'mindfulness' but do you know what it means? Finding an exact answer can be difficult. If you google it, you'll find the following dictionary definitions:
- The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something…
- A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations used as a therapeutic technique…
Wikipedia describes Mindfulness as:
The psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training…
Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally, bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.
While the NHS suggest Mindfulness is:
Awareness of ourselves and the world around us – sometimes called mindfulness – can improve our mental wellbeing.
It's clear that there are plenty of definitions of Mindfulness but what does it mean to be mindful and how do we benefit from Mindfulness practise?
Mindfulness vs Meditation
We need to understand that Mindfulness and Meditation are different:
- Different levels of consciousness bringing them to a clear and calm space
- Several different types of meditation practices – visualisation, sound, chanting, breathing ……
- Is the broad umbrella term in which the concept of mindfulness is included
- Is a form of meditation whereby our attention is focused on an object
- Mindfulness practices involve directing your attention to sounds, sight, smells, sensations and thought
So why be Mindful?
When you live in a fast-paced world, it can be difficult to take stock sometimes and concentrate on what you are doing a the time. In fact, social scientists from Harvard found, on average, people spend 46% of the time thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing. They suggested that this mind-wandering actually makes people unhappier. If we were to engage in the present moment more often, we could substantially improve that quality of our lives. According to Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind.
We probably need to ask ourselves some questions to establish how ‘mindless’ we are:
- Do you often travel to places without remembering how you got there?
- Watched a sunset without appreciating the colours, the air, any sound. Instead, you may have been chatting or thinking of things that you need to do?
- Really enjoyed what you are eating – the smell, texture, the sounds, the sensation in your mouth, how it feels?
- Are you constantly ‘multi-tasking’?
- Do you function on autopilot a lot of the time?
- Are you worried about multiple things simultaneously?
- Are our experiences lost due to our distractions?
- When are we ever doing nothing?
- Is your leisure time your free time?
For many of us, any downtime is spent on social media, texting, calling or thinking about another agenda. Or to put it another way, we are constantly filling our days and our minds with noise.
The benefits of Mindfulness
How does practising Mindfulness help us to escape from all the above distractions? Here are some of the benefits:
- You'll find your immunity is stronger so you'll be sick less often and for a shorter period of time
- Your digestion will improve
- The quality of your sleep will also improve as will your cognitive functions – including memory, concentration, and creative imagination
- Levels of irritability, impatience, anxiety and depression will decrease
- More harmonious relationships
- Enhanced levels of happiness and wellbeing
- Increase oxygen and blood flow
Our class description
Mindfulness - A relaxing, and self-focused class, experience a range of guided meditations to understand the importance of being ‘still’.
- Better for: Living in the moment