What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a present-moment awareness of what’s happening in our experience. When we pause and pay attention we step out of autopilot into an awareness of thoughts, emotions, body sensations, impulses for action and our external environment – all the elements that make up human experience.
“Paying attention on purpose to the present moment non-judgementally” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
In the light of mindful awareness we begin to notice habits of mind that are supportive of our well-being and those reactive habits that contribute to our feeling stressed, anxious, fearful and unhappy.
Through developing the capacity to pay attention to our experience with genuine interest and kindness, we are more able to connect with how we actually are, how life actually is, without resistance. Cultivating an attitude of compassionate allowing opens up the possibility of freeing ourselves from automatic ways of reacting so that we become more capable of responding to life. This can make an enormous difference to our sense of empowerment, our well-being and our happiness.
Why practice mindfulness?
The extensive scientific research into mindfulness consistently reveals its physical, psychological and social benefits. These include:
- A stronger immune system so we’re able to fight off illness more effectively
- A reduction in stress, anxiety, depression and exhaustion and an increase in positive emotions, resilience and a sense of well-being
- An increased capacity for attention, learning, memory, creativity, focus and concentration
- The ability to regulate our emotions and to feel kind and compassionate towards ourselves and others
- Richer and more embodied experiences of life
Mindfulness does not promise a quick fix. Research suggests that 20 – 30 minutes of regular practice is required to gain and maintain access to the benefits over time. We do live busy lives and it can be challenging to create space for practice. Attending a course will support you to begin to develop the habit of setting aside regular time to nourish yourself through mindfulness.