Lifestyle30 July 2020
What is “Mindfulness”?
Mindfulness is the ability to manage our focus without bias, with kindness and without judgment.
Mindfulness, also known as “Conscious Awareness”, draws attention to being aware of this moment. Many researchers have proven the positive impact of awareness on stress, attention, and even relationships.
What do you think about when you hear “Awareness”? Meditating? Deep breathing? Maybe healthy eating? Awareness actually contains them all; awareness means not being drowned by what is going on around us.
Mindfulness is an ability that helps us manage the anxiety and stress we feel in our daily lives. Because our mind is programmed to think about the past and the future, it starts wandering around these ideas and emotions. This is not something to be afraid of. This state, which we can also describe as the “Wandering Mind”, is a part of human nature, but it prevents us from experiencing the moment.
The basis of awareness is accepting our thoughts as they are, not judging them and being compassionate towards them. Trying to control our thoughts and emotions is very much like trying to prevent the waves from forming in an ocean. It is not possible; so, what we can do is to let our thoughts be and vanish as soon as they hit the shore. Awareness is not a theory; it requires practice and experience.
To integrate awareness in our daily lives, we need to impartially monitor our thoughts and feelings as a third party. For example, when we have negative or anxious thoughts, we need to accept their presence and let them slowly fade away. But, where should we start awareness exercises?
1- We may notice several changes in our bodies when we exercise Mindfulness. We all react differently to the sense of being threatened. In those cases, our minds can automatically activate themselves. Since blockades would prevent exploring new experiences, we need to feel ready. Before starting, find yourself a quiet and calm spot and determine a duration. If you are new to it, it would be better to start with 5 or 10 minutes.
2- Be mindful of your body. You may sit on a chair and place your feet on the ground, you may sit on the ground cross-legged, or kneel in a lotus position. Just be sure that you will feel comfortable and stable in this position for your desired duration. At this step, we will listen to what is going on in our bodies; so, our bodies will be the only thing we will focus on. Start scanning your body from head to toe. How fast does your heartbeat? What does your legs feel? Focus on feeling and exploring your body with these questions.
3- Focus on your breath. Everyone knows that breathing is great for you. Rhythmic breath represents an order that repeats on the same level by breathing in and out. Accordingly, if we breathe while counting to four and breathe out while counting to four, and if we start repeating it in the same order, we will have created a rhythm. Feel your breath. Try to feel your rib cage going up and down.
4- This might be the hardest step to apply. We need to clear our minds completely from the urge and thought of judgment. You need to let your thoughts pass through and fade away from your minds. The only task we should complete is to allow the story in our minds to continue without any interruption for a certain period of time. Be mindful of which ideas roam your mind, and when. Naturally, your focus will shift from your breath to your thought and emotions. When you feel that happening, try to shift it back to your breath.
5- Be kind to your wandering mind. Do not judge yourself, and just focus on bringing your mind back. The more we are aware of our bodies under stress, the more we will help expand our borders. The awareness of “Mindfulness” helps us to observe ourselves better and to bring our focus back to now, when needed. When our mind is lost in complex thoughts, we can monitor these thoughts and appoint our breath as an anchor to this moment.