Mindfulness: Its Definition, Benefits and How to Practice it
Mindfulness inspires us to pause and live more fully in the here and now. Maintaining a state of mindfulness leads to a peaceful state of comfort and maximum productivity. According to research, people go on vacation to practice it and it is even used to improve day-to-day work at the office. It is about mindfulness and it is fashionable, but what exactly does it mean.
Juan Manuel Medina, director of the Sanis Natura Natural Medicines Center, explains that it is a psychological concept that means “mindfulness”. It consists of becoming aware of the present moment by focusing attention on one’s own feelings, thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, breathing or the environment that surrounds us (sounds, smells, temperature, etc.). That consciousness in the present moment must be devoid of judgments, i.e. it is about focusing attention but without judging, without interpreting, without justifying. “Just pay attention”, he adds.
Meaning of mindfulness:
To know what mindfulness is and how it is practiced, we must first know what mindfulness means. Its meaning is mindfulness or full awareness. It is an English term, an old synonym for attention which means attention. Mind means mind, while fulness means fullness. The origin of the word mindfulness is found in the term sati, which in Pali means awareness, attention and remembrance. The concept of mindfulness currently refers to the fact of being aware and being attentive to the present moment.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a meditation-based practice that consists of training the attention to be aware of the present.
What is mindfulness meditation?
According to Jon Kabat Zinn, mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to the present moment and without judgment. While for Vicente Simón, one of the leading representatives of mindfulness, it is a universal and basic human capacity that consists of the possibility of being aware of the contents of the mind moment by moment.
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It is considered that it stems from Eastern traditions, especially Buddhism and, specifically, Vipassana meditation. The origin of mindfulness dates back 2,500 years ago when Siddharta Gautama perfected a religious and philosophical practice that had mindfulness as its essence.
“With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available at that moment.” Thich Nhat Hanh
What is meditation?
Meditation is a way of training the mind. Mindfulness is based on meditation, but this is a much broader and more heterogeneous practice.
Pema Chodron Says:
“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”
Types of Meditation and their Benefits:
Vipassana meditation is a type of meditation originating in India. Where Vipassana means “seeing things as they are” and this is the goal of this type of meditation. It is practiced through self-observation of the body, mind and their changes.
Mindfulness is said to be a type of westernized meditation as it has been adapted to the needs of life in the West. Here’s What is Self-Reflection and Why is it so Important?
What objectives are pursued with the practice of mindfulness?
The objective of mindfulness is to achieve a deep state of consciousness free of judgments about our sensations, feelings or thoughts, to pay attention to what is happening inside us at all times.
Mindfulness pursues full attention to the present moment; recognize our thoughts but accept them without judgment, questioning our habitual mental patterns, and our habitual way of thinking. The objective is that the person can observe their thoughts with perspective, without immersing themselves in their content.
When to practice mindfulness?
Anyone can practice mindfulness regardless of age or condition. It is recommended to start with short sessions of about 10 minutes to get used to the practice. If the time indicated at the beginning is exceeded, it can generate frustration by not being able to focus attention and try to escape.
Where can we practice mindfulness?
The ideal place for mindfulness is to practice it in a closed place, free from external noises, with a peaceful temperature and where you need to be comfortable. Comfortable clothing is recommended and practice in a sitting position, with a straight back and without tension.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
This discipline can improve the perception of pain in chronically ill patients, resulting in greater emotional well-being. Its practice also improves the ability to concentrate and attention, which results in greater efficiency when performing any task.
It is very positive for managing stressful situations and improving anxiety states as it helps reduce cortisol levels (stress hormones) in our bodies.
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Its continued practice favors night sleep, which is why it is very positive as a treatment against insomnia. And in general, it improves our emotional intelligence, since it allows us to face our thoughts and emotions and interpret situations with perspective, without judging and without being dragged by them.
Rupert Spira quoted:
“Give your attention to the experience of seeing rather than to the object seen and you will find yourself everywhere.”
Regulation of care:
Attention is like a spotlight that lightens a stage. This stage is very large and the light bulb cannot illuminate everything, but it illuminates a specific part. The stimuli we process depend on our attention and significant issues such as memory and learning depend on this. Therefore, knowing how to move this focus and illuminate what is most important to attend to at all times is of vital importance.
Mindfulness allows us to train the regulation of attention and allows us to be aware of what we tend to overlook when we activate the automatic pilot.
To meet the demands of today’s living, the pace of life is, in general, accelerated. Learning mindfulness allows you to deactivate the automatic pilot and facilitates having more mindful moments, i.e. moments in which you are aware of the present.
Mindfulness and emotions:
Mindfulness or meditation, by focusing on the present moment, allows you to be aware of what you are feeling right now. By practicing it, we can suffer less from feelings and emotions felt in the past. Anticipate fewer emotions that may arise in the future and also be more aware of what emotions we are feeling in the present and at this moment. Knowing the current emotional state is the first step to regulate it. Emotional regulation consists of adapting internal feelings and emotional expression to the situation.
The mind does not stop bombarding thoughts continuously. Being aware of this activity allows you to manage it. There are thoughts that have no real function at that precise moment and produce a background noise in the mind. Through this, we can let go of these thoughts to focus on what we want.
Mindfulness to study:
Studying while keeping your attention fully focused on what you read is a mindful action. Mindfulness helps study by improving the regulation of attention and decreasing the flow of distracting thoughts.
Relaxation and mindfulness:
Mindfulness is one of the great sources of relaxation and releasing stress. But, it should be noted that in general, it is not a relaxation technique nor it is its main objective. However, it can be a beneficial consequence.
Mindfulness and anxiety:
Anxiety is a normal and functional emotion, which serves to activate the body in the face of possible danger. However, sometimes anxiety becomes pathological since the activation is excessive and prevents normal functioning. Anxiety stems from a strong concern for the future, from an anticipatory fear. Therefore, mindfulness and meditation help reduce anxiety by focusing attention on the present moment.
Mindfulness and relationships:
The practice of mindfulness also helps to improve relationships with other people, since it promotes the development of social skills such as communication skills, the capacity for empathy and understanding body language.
Mindfulness and education:
The benefits of mindfulness in the field of education are growth mindset, increased creativity, caliber advancement and improved academic performance.
How it is practiced?
Before starting, it is important to know the different components of mindfulness to learn how to practice it. So, below are the different components of mindfulness:
1. Be aware:
It is about paying full attention to the present moment, i.e. being aware of what is happening here and now. It is about being aware of what is being done and what is going through the mind at this moment: the information that the senses are capturing and the ones’ mind’s own products (thoughts, memories, imaginations, etc.).
It is about observing what appears to the mind as constantly changing content. You have to simply observe what appears.
Thoughts will appear that could cause rejection or disgust. However, mindfulness tries to accept and allow thoughts to be as they are. Acceptance is about not putting up resistance.
4. Don’t judge:
Not judging the thoughts that appear in the mind is to refrain from making an assessment or a reaction, whether positive or negative.
Mindfulness proposes a curious and open-minded attitude, with which the present sensations are received with curiosity, as if it was the first time they appear, avoiding the influence of previous learning.
One of the essential components of mindfulness is the attitude of loving-kindness and kindness towards the observed object.
Release and let go of all the stress with mindfulness. Letting go means that letting go of things that are leaving without trying to retain them. It consists of understanding that everything is impermanent, that everything has a beginning, duration and end. When this end happens, from the mindfulness it is proposed not to cling, but to let go. That is, letting go of the experience.
Being patient in practicing means understanding that things happen when it’s their time. Natural happenings can never be reflected and they have to happen. The best thing is to train your mindset to adopt a change.
9. Trust in yourself:
Confidence consists of believing in yourself, in your own feelings and in your own intuition and wisdom.
In short, practicing mindfulness consists of letting thoughts flow without resistance or judgment, simply observing how they come and go. It is important to differentiate the fact of focusing attention and the attitude with which it is done. In addition to focusing attention on the present, an attitude characterized by curiosity, openness and acceptance should be adopted.
Mindfulness: Books one Need to Read
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
Full catastrophe living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Power of Now Journal (El poder del Ahora) by Eckhart Tolle
Get Some Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All the Difference by Andy Puddicombe
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