Mindfulness has become a serious buzzword in recent years and is seen in almost every walk of life from health to education, business and personal well-being.
Did you know that the NHS prescribes it to patients experiencing stress and depression. Also Google and eBay are just two of the companies that have dedicated rooms for staff to practise mindfulness meditation in work time.
I love teaching mindfulness and it’s one of the many subjects we discuss in my healing sessions.
SO WHAT IS MINDFULNESS AND HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
While it has its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness as we know it today with its focus on being fully present in the current moment was developed by the scientist, Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the world-renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic.
In the 1970s he adapted Buddhist meditation techniques to help people with chronic illnesses manage their conditions, inspired by a study he conducted on patients with psoriasis.
After being taught to meditate while receiving ultra-violet light treatment, the participants’ skin conditions cleared up at four times the rate of the non-meditators, all because they learnt to focus on the present moment.
Have you ever looked round for that half-eaten sandwich only to find you’ve finished it, or walked to the end of your road and wondered if you’ve turned off the oven or locked the door, then you’ll know what it’s like to live on auto pilot.
For so many of us it’s the norm. We are so preoccupied with our thoughts, catching up on unanswered emails and wanting to spend time with family and friends at the weekend but still need time to do the shopping and cleaning – so obviously we tend to think of the number of tasks we get through in a day rather than the quality of their experience.
When was the last time you watched a sunset or smelt a flower? And how long is it since you simply enjoyed a cup of tea – without checking your phone or watching TV?
As well as allowing you to appreciate the smaller moments in life, being more mindful can also bring a sense of calm and ease to the more challenging ones.
By being fully present, aware of your thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations, you’re able to inhabit the moment in a way that brings a wealth of benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, a more balanced response to difficult situations, better communication, more satisfying relationships and increased focus and concentration. It has even been shown to enhance your Immune system.
‘Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom,’ says Kabat-Zinn.
‘This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments.
If we’re not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realise the richness and depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation. ‘
I try and bring mindfulness into my daily practice each day by walking outside and looking at the shapes of clouds and listening to the birds in the trees and feel so relaxed and calm and focused for the day ahead.
I regularly give talks on mindfulness to groups and have done these for Rehab Care in Ballinamore and am looking forward to working with the staff at Eivers Lane in Mohill shortly.
Contact me if you would like to get a few friends or work colleagues together and I will give a talk on Mindfulness or any of the other things I do at Breathe and Bloom