“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz”
Many years ago, still during my early college years, I read a book called “The Power of Now” from author Eckhart Tolle. I found it brilliant and was also a life changing text that transcended in my life and opened my eyes to the art of being present, to avoid going far back in the past or worrying about a future that no one knows what holds.
This book was so meaningful to me that I got a tattoo on my foot that says: Aqui y Ahora (Here and Now), to remind me of this intention to be fully aware. #cliché #tattooedmom
I learned that the power of now was within me and realised (sadly) that no one ever taught me about it until I read this book! Hello!? What have I been missing all this time folks?!
Then, before it’s too late, I want to share with you some basics about Mindfulness, because I did an online course and all, you know, I am a master at this. #iwish
Let’s dig in!
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness according to John Kabat-Zinn can be defined as the psychological capacity to stay willfully present with one’s experiences, with a non-judgmental or accepting attitude, engendering a warm and friendly openness and curiosity.
How do you practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be cultivated by various techniques. Formally, it is trained by meditation practices such as sitting meditation, or physical movements such as yoga or tai chi. These techniques help steady the mind and train its attentional capacity. The idea is to focus on the present moment using an “anchor,” for instance, the breath. When the mind drifts away, the attention is gently brought back to the present moment experience. The practitioner tries to simply observe his or her experience in the present moment without judging or modifying it. (This part is great!)
Who can practice Mindfulness?
Anyone can do mindfulness practice. There are no barriers. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your physical ability is, if you’re religious or not…
What are the benefits of practising Mindfulness?
According to Mindfulschools.org, scholarly research finds that mindfulness practice decreases stress and anxiety, increases attention, improves interpersonal relationships, strengthens compassion, and confers a host of other benefits.
Mindfulness is associated with emotion regulation across a number of studies3. Mindfulness creates changes in the brain that correspond to less reactivity4, and better ability to engage in tasks even when emotions are activated.5
How can you meditate?
Whatever you chose to do, do it every day, around the same time. For me, the best time was right after Santiago fell asleep when the house was quiet. My husband would look at me thinking I was becoming a Buddist Monk. #worriedhubby
According to mindful.org. here are some tips to follow to get a better meditation experience:
- Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment, just some quiet time for yourself.
- Observe the present moment as it is. One of my favourite things about Mindfulness is that the goal is simple: pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. Easier said than done, I know.
- Let your judgments roll by.When we notice judgements arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass. Always let those feelings and thoughts pass by, #dontbother #keeprolling
- Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in with thoughts. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognising when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back. #bekindbaby
That’s the practice. It’s often been said that it’s very simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. The work is to just keep doing it. Results will come. 100% money back guarantee!
Where can you learn more about Mindfulness?
1.- My suggestion is to take this free course from Coursera called De-Mystifying Mindfulness by Universiteit Leiden, (I am about to finish it… talk about procrastination) is a 6 week based self-passed online course that will help you understand the different approaches and personalities the practice of Mindfulness has. Includes practical exercises for meditation and concentration.
2.-Read any of these Jonh Kabat-Zinn books:
– Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness
3.-Get practical guide of daily Mindfulness exercises: I am Here Now book from the Mindfulness Project that contains fun and very easy ways to practice focusing and concentration in our everyday busy lives. This was a present from my dear Wellness Coach Anahi Brown
So, That’s all it takes!
Just remember, your mindfulness adventure is your adventure. It’s not mine. It’s not William James’. It’s not even Buddha’s. It´s yours, live it deeply.
How do you feel about Mindfulness? Wanna give it a try? Are you already practising it? Is this a personal decision, a commitment to yourself that will bring a more focus daily living, a better rest, a less reactive attitude and a more open heart?. It will be reflected on your personal relations with your family, friend, co-workers and best of all, your own children.
It´s worth it!
Special Thanks to:
www.mariadanielaquiros.com and Marcia Ferreira for the beautiful pictures in this post
And Andreina Mendez: http://www.myidahocloset.com for her proofreading patience!