The concept of mindfulness has become popular in recent years, along with “self-care” and “meditation”. But what really is mindfulness? And how can it help?
What is Mindfulness
The dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” Or, more simply, “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”
Many of us go through life not truly having awareness of ourselves and our surroundings. We get lost in the daily stressors of our lives and switch to “auto-pilot.” Being mindful increases our self-awareness and ability to be intentional in our actions.
The key here, and arguably the most difficult part of mindfulness is non-judgment. This means you simply observe and accept thoughts as they enter your mind without labeling them as good or bad. “Thought-compounding” which is the act of slapping a negative judgment or label on a thought that is already making us feel bad. For example, “Is my friend is mad at me? How stupid is that thought? Why do I always worry about these things? I’m such a loser.” Versus, “I just had a thought that I am worried that me friend is made at me.”
Non-judgement allows us to be more attuned to the present moment, instead of worrying about the future or ruminating on the past. When we remove the value-based judgments of our thoughts and remember that they are in fact just thoughts, not facts – we remove their power.
Try to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Even 10-15 minutes of intentional mindfulness can have a positive impact on your day and help to re-train your brain.