What is mindfulness?
“The art of conscious living” – Jon Kabat-Zinn.
In our ever growing society, high value is placed on doing many things at once, multi tasking at work, staying touch with friends and family, keeping up with social media and moving around from place to place. By multi-tasking, we can get a lot done quickly and be considered as productive and smart.
But this comes at a cost. As a result of doing and thinking about many things at once, we can get caught up in our own thinking and perform on automatic pilot, preventing us from appreciating what we are experiencing in the present.
Mindfulness helps us to live a valued focused life and understand what is actually important to us. As our brain gets overloaded with thoughts, mindfulness can help to switch off the automatic pilot way of life and focus on simply being.
Mind Full or Mindful?
What is Mindfulness? – Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn
Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn is best selling author and internationally known for bringing mindfulness into mainstream medicine and society discusses his definition of mindfulness and the rewards of practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness – Smiling Mind
The smiling mind provides simple and accessible tools for mindfulness meditation. In this post the differences between the states of mindfulness and mindlessness (or auto pilot) are explained.
Why are adults returning to colouring in?
Is it just the nostalgic feeling of being a kid again? Well, actually there is more to the appeal than just this. Adult colouring in books are intricate and thus require a level of care and concentration to complete. Colouring in allows our mind to focus attention on the present task, tune in to our senses (feel the pencil in our hand, hear the pencil move across the page and seeing the colours fill the page as we express our creativity) and at the same time calming the mind.
Is mindfulness for me?
- Do you ever feel like you are on automatic pilot?
- Have you tried to get rid of or ignore unhelpful thoughts?
- Do your thoughts get in the way of achieving your goals?
- Do you know what you stand for?
- Would you like to be more connected to yourself, to others and the world around you?
- Are you living the life you want to live?
- Are you your ideal self?
You’re already awesome. Just get out of your own way!
Often we are our own worst enemy. When we get caught up in our own thinking this can prevent us from performing and being our ideal self. Dr Judson Brewer in this post describes ways we can get out of our own way, pay attention and live mindfully.
How does Mindfulness work?
The benefits of Mindfulness
What happens in the brain when we practice Mindfulness?
Mind the bump – Mindfulness and how the brain works
How to include Mindfulness in everyday practice?
- Sit outside watch who and what goes by in front of you.
- Find something beautiful to look at, and spend a few minutes appreciating it.
- If someone is talking, listen without interrupting for 3 minutes.
- Practice walking with your senses. Notice what you hear, see, and feel.
- Sing along with music you are listening to.
- Lie on the ground and watch the clouds in the sky.
- Wash the dishes consciously, as though each dish is sacred.
- Read in silence. Find a quiet time, and a quiet spot, and read a good book!
- Look at someone gratefully. Find someone you care about and instead of just seeing what you always see, really look at the person.
- Eat a meal without distraction (i.e. without having a conversation with someone or watching tv).
- Open your mind to your five senses – take a moment to observe what do I see you, what do I hear, what do I smell, what do I taste, what do I feel?
- Pause for regular moments throughout the day. You may even want to set a reminder on your phone or computer to remind you to do this.
- Use a mindfulness “trigger” i.e. something that reminds you to break from automatic pilot and be mindful. Professional athletes for example may use their coloured laces, so that when they look at them, they refocus their attention.
- You can try a Mindfulness exercise here:
Here are some usual resources:
Smiling Mind is meditation made easy. A simple tool that helps put a smile on your mind anytime, anywhere and everyday.
The Happiness Trap
Guided Mindfulness Meditation Practices with Jon Kabat-Zinn
References for this blog:
[i] Lazar, S., et al. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. NeuroReport, 16(17), 1893-1897.
[ii] Brefczynski-Lewis J.A, Lutz A, Schaefer H.S.D, Levinson D.B, Davidson R.J. Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners. PNAS. 2007;104(27):p11483–11488.
[iii] Davidson, Richard J. PhD; Kabat‐Zinn, Jon PhD; Schumacher, et al (2003). Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation, Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 65 – Issue 4 – p 564–570.
[iv] Barnes, S., et al. (2007). The role of mindfulness in romantic relationship satisfaction and response to relationship stress. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33(4), 482-500.