Mindfulness is the art of being present in the present moment. When we are being mindful, we bring awareness on purpose, without judgment, to things as they are in the here and now.
We spend most of our time in doing mode (also known as Automatic Pilot). We’re not present in our body and can be caught up in the past or the future. When we are in this mode, we often react to situations due to our past experiences. We can easily have our buttons pushed without realising it.
In Auto-pilot, it’s like when you drive somewhere and when you arrive you can’t remember the journey. Or we may go to have another crisp and realise the packet is empty! Automatic pilot is useful for some things (e.g. problem solving) but it isn’t very helpful for noticing our thoughts or feelings (especially negative ones) until it is too late.
With mindfulness we learn how to just “be”. In the present moment, aware of our body sensations, our thoughts and feelings and open to experiences just as they are. We aim to bring kindness, acceptance and warmth to whatever is present in the present moment. There is no striving for a particular state (e.g. relaxation), just being aware of what is here.
If we’re drinking tea mindfully, then we are just drinking tea. We are tasting all the flavours, feeling the warmth of the cup in our hands, noticing our body sensations as we swallow the tea. We are not drinking tea whilst worrying about the project we are working on, thinking about what we will cook for dinner this evening or answering emails.
When we learn to be present with more awareness, we are able to respond to situations with choice rather than reacting automatically.
Mindfulness has been around for hundreds of years in many different cultures. It has gained popularity in the West since the 1970s and there are many studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation.
Learning to be mindful can help us in many ways, for example:
- Reduce stress / anxiety
- Boost our memory
- Reduce rumination
- Increase our attention / focus
- Reduce our emotional reactivity
- Improve our relationships
If you would like to learn more, I offer:
- One to one lessons
- Introduction to Mindfulness – group class – 4 weeks
- Mindfulness for Stress Relief – group class – 8 weeks
I would love to teach you easy to learn mindfulness skills to help improve your health and wellbeing.