What Is Mindfulness?
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness was originally instilled in Buddhism practices, and in the late 70’s, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, bringing the concepts to the western world. He has been instrumental in bringing mindfulness into modern society.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment”. I’d like to add that mindfulness is about accepting your reality, not worrying on the past or future, and being aware and focused on the present moment. Mindfulness is active and passive. You choose to be focused on the present, but you allow your current experience to “just be” without judgment.
Being mindless means you’re busy, doing things without thinking or on “autopilot”, and just going through the motions which we all know is very easy to resort to without a second thought. Think about how many times you’ve pulled into your driveway without remembering the drive there. That’s being mindless. Mindful driving would be focusing on the details o your driving experience, however mundane they may feel.
Why Should You Practice Mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness has many benefits, including reduced levels of stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and blood pressure. It improves your relationships, compassion, ability to focus, sleep patterns, and life appreciation. It increases the density of gray matter in your brain in the area related to memory, emotions, and learning, and creates a shift in the left frontal brain activity that deals with resilience. So many benefits!
Mindfulness is a really important part of continuing your journey of self love, and it can be done in many ways. For an example, I’d like to focus on eating. Mindful eating promotes healthy eating and can be coorelated with a decrease in obesity and over-eating. You’ll find an overall improved level of satisfcation in your meal and physiological digestive processes. So how do you do it?
11 Ways To Practice Mindful Eating:
+ Chew twenty times before swallowing
+ Try to figure out what the ingredients are in your food just by taste
+ Play with your food, make faces, feel the textures
+ Sit down at a table, not in front of a TV, in your car, or over the sink
+ Turn off media (like your phone) and external stimulus so it’s easier to focus– no multi-tasking!
+ Appreciate the aesthetics of your meal, but refrain from sharing a photo of it on Instagram
+ Try eating (or at least chewing) with your eyes closed
+ Use utensils with your non-dominant hand
+ Don’t eat out of a bag
+ Put your utensils down between bites
+ Say thank you for your food (it doesn’t need to be a religious type “grace”, just an acknowledgment that you’re grateful for being able to have this food)
These kinds of techniques can honestly be applied to any activity. Speaking of activities, I’ve made a list of 10 ways you can practice mindfulness. Download it for free below!
PS – Did you know I made you a FREE e-course on mindfulness?
Photo Credit: Victoria Gloria Photography