Mindfulness is a term used quite often these days. “Be mindful of your posture when lifting” “Be mindful of your money!” “Try to be mindful of others”. We are advised to be mindful in all areas of our lives, but what does ‘being mindful’ really mean, and why is it so important?
There is that saying; Are you mindful, or is your mind full?
Practising mindfulness is a technique in which we draw our focus and attention into the present moment. As we do this we take note of our environment and what is happening around us, as well as how we are feeling physically and emotionally. We even start to become aware of our thoughts.
Being aware of our thoughts is a strange concept, to begin with, because isn’t it ‘us’ that is thinking the thoughts in the first place? And when I am observing my own thoughts, am I not thinking ‘observe my thoughts?’
The idea of mindfulness is not so much about having control of the thoughts, it is more about observing the different thoughts and feeling we are having at any given moment. With mindfulness, the idea is to observe these thoughts and feelings with a non-judgemental attitude. So instead of noticing a negative thought and thinking “That was a bad thought”, instead we recognise that we are feeling a little negative.
As we become more mindful, we can start to notice how our thoughts and feelings are impacted by what is happening around us. From here we learn to become less drawn in and affected by the gossip, drama and general stress we encounter on a daily basis.
Being mindful of ourselves and how we act, or react, with the world around us, can go a long way towards living an enjoyable and fulfilling life. It can enhance our general mood, improve our social skills, increase our empathy and compassion for others, boost our confidence, make us more emotionally resilient and also help us reduce compulsive or addictive tendencies.
Even though mindfulness is a technique that is often taught to us during yoga classes, guided meditations and performance coaching, it is really a skill that should be developed and implemented into normal, everyday life. Because that is what mindfulness is, it is a skill of adjusting our attitude and the way in which we process information. A skill that can be cultivated into our everyday lifestyle that will help us develop acceptance and curiosity to all of our life experiences.
So if you feel like you need a little more balance, a little more confidence or would like to gain more out of each and every moment in your life, then try practising some mindfulness, and watch as all areas of your life benefit from it!