Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword recently. But what does it really mean? Is it useful for us or is it a word that is overused and applied to anything that speaks of health and wellness?
The truth is the concept of mindfulness is nothing new. We find it in reference again and again in Pantajali’s yoga sutras as well as many ancient texts and cultural philosophies. Practicing mindfulness is a way for us to truly live with full presence in the moment, to experience that presence without judgement and to try and aim removing our attachment to the past and the future. If we have little connection to past events, and similarly if we remove too much attachment to the future, then we can begin to understand how practicing mindfulness can help us find contentment with the present. It may even be helpful to those with depression or anxiety issues.
So how do we practice mindfulness in the real world? A world that is busy and full of distractions, filled to bursting with plans and commitments, a world where technology tracks and records our every step and memory, where it feels impossible to escape our past… It can be impossible at times to feel we can focus on just one thing when there is always always something to ‘do’. This image from www.mindfulmazing.com is a nice little reminder that incorporating mindfulness need not be complicated. Starting with focusing on our breathing. Slowing our breath down and counting in for a few seconds then exhaling for a few seconds longer, then gradually increasing the time until we have about a double time of exhale as we do inhale. Breathing this way helps slow the mind, control the autonomic nervous system by slowing down the heart rate, controlling stress and naturally regulating blood pressure.
Some people find apps really useful for reminding them to practice mindfulness at certain points during the day.
Great ones include calm, headspace and breeth
What works for you?