Mindfulness is not the latest fad or new-age fashion. It’s been around for thousands of years. The scope of this post is not to explore origins, rather, how mindfulness works and what can be done to maintain positive mindful practice.
It’s like a diet in some senses; if you don’t do it, there won’t be any benefits.
I noticed considerable argument surrounding a UK television programme on social media regarding how mindfulness can be used to alleviate problems associated with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some say it can, some say not. I wonder how many of the “not” camp reside in the pharmaceuticals industry?
So, there you go. I’ve just blown my cover. I am proudly a member of the “yes it can” camp. But don’t forget what I said; use it or lose it!
That’s a challenge with most children, young adults and adults alike. Generally, we’re brought up not living mindfully. For the greater part of our lives, we react to events. Worrying about what we did or didn’t do in the past and about what the future will bring, or not. Doing that we lose our attachment to the present moment. One of my favourite sayings is, “life is right now, in this moment.” This is mindfulness.
It’s about noticing what is happening right now in this moment.
Having awareness of what your body senses. Feeling emotions in your body, through positive or negative sensations. Noticing what’s happening in your mind.
What happens when you start noticing these experiences?
Awareness of what’s happening around you will enable deeper focus, and attention to your own senses will develop improvement in many aspects of life.
Improved focus can advance sports, educational or musical achievements for example. Any high-achiever will tell you that. Read about how great athletes prepare for a race. It’s not just about being physically fit. Mindfulness can help reach higher examination grades too. We always do better when we pay direct attention to our life-activities.
Noticing what’s happening around you, can help you to calm down when you’re sad, angry or frustrated. Mindfulness helps you deal with difficult emotions and can lift a dark mood. It can even assist recovery from chronic illnesses or addiction. I have my own evidence for that through personal experience which you can read about or listen to elsewhere. We will come to that.
Humans are pretty good at judging and reacting too. Think about it. How often have you seen somebody dive in and take apart a person or group because of something they’ve said or done? Here’s another aspect of mindfulness; without judgement and staying neutral yet maintaining curiosity.
That sounds tricky doesn’t it? It’s not as tough as it sounds but we may be carrying some baggage from our lives that makes it seem difficult at first. Once we parcel that baggage and learn to put it into our experience boxes and move on, it’s not so difficult.
So, if I could show you the space where mindfulness resides, I would point to this great quote from Stephen R. Covey’s bestseller, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Covey talked about Viktor Frankl, a famous psychiatrist imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during WW II
“They could control his entire environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Victor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement. His basic identity was intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him. Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response.”
We all have that freedom or power to choose how we respond to any situation the moment it arises. It’s how we respond that matters.
How does mindfulness work?
When someone says something we don’t like to hear, we react. Sometimes we say something and wish to retract it as soon as it’s spoken. Or we are knocked down by the emotion caused by an event.
Mindfulness helps us create space between emotions and actions. We learn to deal with positive and negative experiences more calmly and by making better decisions.
If we are mindful of our thoughts and feelings, we respond positively and, without hurting our own or the feelings of others. Sometimes life packs hard punches. Practising mindfulness gives us the ability to recover faster and move on.
So, mindfulness works with the daily ups and downs of life and can also lead to outstanding results with major events such as chronic illness as I have proved to myself along with countless others.
It wouldn’t be fair to leave you hanging on a statement like that, but I will for now and until I get back to you, I encourage you to seek more information with an open mind. There’s plenty out there.
Additionally, I’m involved with a project called, “Courage To Connect” where you can read about part of my journey into mindful living and those of several other authors. Watch out for more information.
Peace, Love and Light,