What is Mindfulness?
The first thing that a lot of people think of is someone doing a Yoga position making that cliche “hmmmm” noise…it’s doesn’t have to be anything like that.
Mindfulness is about being aware (or as aware as you can be) of the feelings and sensations going on within and around you in the moment. In contrast to being blind to the feelings and sensations you experience and instead being focused on all the passing thoughts and worries that pop in your consciousness. It’s about learning to experience the moment to moment sensations and examine the thoughts and feelings as you become aware of them and learning to see them as sensations that you experience rather than the driving force behind what you do.
The are many reported advantages from using mindfulness techniques. The process of becoming more aware may help you recognise and experience the pleasure in each moment and give context to cope better with the negative. It also allows you to learn about how your mind introduces thoughts and feelings in to your awareness, make it easier to put them in a rational context rather than simply reacting to them and letting them drive you.
Once that idea really “clicks”, it becomes somewhat like the mentality around Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – thoughts and emotions are experiences you can recognise and control.
How does it work?
You actually don’t need to do anything to get start except try to notice what you are feeling right now. That could be the feeling of the chair your sat in. The sensation of your clothes against your skin. The feeling of you skin touching your phone or mouse. Anything that you can pay a bit more attention to than you normally do and is enough to turn you off autopilot.
Then it’s just a case of maintaining the habit.
It’s probably easier to start with physical sensation and then move to noticing your thoughts and feelings.