What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a life skill that involves paying attention to our present moment experience with an attitude of openness, non-judgement and acceptance. Mindfulness practice engages all of our senses as we open up to our entire experience, becoming aware of our body, emotions, thoughts and the external environment. It is a natural and an intuitive state of presence, a way of being in touch with ourselves, others and the surroundings.
“Mindfulness is knowing what is happening, while it is happening, without preference” – Rob Nairn
Why Practise Mindfulness?
In today’s fast-paced lives seldom are we truly present. Our attention is dispersed as we are busy juggling multiple tasks, our minds “time-travel” to past or future, and constant striving can leave us stressed out, anxious or disconnected.
Mindfulness training helps bring awareness back to our moment-by-moment experience, enabling us to step out of automatic pilot and creating space to respond rather than react. Cultivation of mindful compassion strengthens our inner resources to help respond more kindly and wisely when faced with inner turmoil and difficulties. Key research findings on the benefits of mindfulness practice suggest it can help:
- reduce stress, anxiety and rumination
- improve attention and focus
- reduce emotional distress, increase positive states of mind and improve quality of life
- enable us to cope with medical (physical and mental) and non-medical problems
- increase empathy and self-compassion
- promote healthy sleeping and eating
Overall, mindfulness training can bring more balance into our daily lives, and deepen our sense of wellbeing and fulfilment.