What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mind-body practice which enables us to become more aware of ourselves, other people and our reactions to the world around us. It involves actively focusing our attention on our experiences with patience, gentleness and a sense of self-care, letting go of any tendency to be judgmental or self-critical.
We tend to think that mindfulness is about meditation and attending retreats, but it is actually something that we can all practice and benefit from at any time, enabling us to bring a greater sense of calm, ease and clarity into our life.
Mindfulness practice involves becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations with a sense of self-nurture, without analysing, judging or being self-critical. We learn to do this in formal mindfulness practice sessions while sitting, standing, lying down and in mindful movement. We learn to use the sensations of the breath and body as an anchor to bring us back to calmness at times of stress and difficulty.
When we bring mindfulness into our daily life, we can use our sensory experiences to help calm and settle us. We start to recognise our stress triggers and learn to respond with awareness, rather than reacting on autopilot. This allows us to reframe our difficulties and feel more in control of the choices we make.
By learning to tune into our sensory experiences, we can give our body and mind a chance to reset. Our immune system can work more effectively. Inflammation can be reduced. Our breathing and digestion can improve and we can slow down and regain a sense of ease and wellbeing.