What is Mindfulness?
- Mindfulness is defined as being present in the moment in a nonjudgmental way.
- Becoming mindful in our lives expresses itself in multiple ways:
- Being aware and accepting of present experience
- Bringing focus, awareness and attention to the present moment
- “Single-tasking” rather than multi-tasking
- Being wholeheartedly present here and now
- Appreciating the present moment rather than wishing it away
- Being attentive to what you are doing rather than operating automatically
- Nurturing attitudes of acceptance and non-judgment, which adds warmth, friendliness and compassion
Why practice Mindfulness?
Do you ever find yourself worrying about the future, feeling angry or sad, feeling guilty or ashamed, getting upset about physical pain, or just feeling bored or stressed?
Sometimes the feeling is more subtle and you may just feel “out of sorts.” There may be times when you get taken over by anxiety, depression, addictions, pain or other stress-related symptoms that make it difficult to function. Emotional suffering comes in all forms. Mindfulness is a way of relating to life that holds the promise of both alleviating our suffering and making our lives richer and more meaningful.
The point of being mindful is to develop a close relationship with your own mind. You become more familiar with what you are thinking and feeling, and less reactive to your thoughts, emotions and cravings. Mindfulness is a practical way to develop your ability to see the world around you more clearly and understand ourselves and others better, so that you can live a more joyful and fulfilling life.
Mindfulness practices have been around for thousands of years! Research in the past twenty-five years has proven that mindfulness can help people with a vast range of emotional and physical disorders. Mindfulness practices have led many people from all walks of life to be more open to the practice including hospitals, businesses, governments, athletes, schools and the military.
Stress has been cited as a cause of more than 70% of all family doctor visits for illness and 66% of Americans report having trouble focusing at work because of stress. Job stress costs U.S. industries more than $300 billion per year. These costs include missed work, employee turnover, decreased productivity, and medical, legal and insurance costs. Mindfulness programs have been shown to help reduce many stress-related symptoms and improve overall health, including outcomes such as the following:
- 80% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease
- 83% improvement in decision making skills
- 60-70% fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression
Benefits of mindfulness, include:
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced blood pressure
- Balanced hormones
- Improved digestion
- Help maintain weight
- Increased ability to relax
- Reduced fatigue and anxiety
- Increased energy
- New coping skills
- Better brain function
- Sense of calm
- Decreased depression
- Help with relationships
- Enhanced listening skills
- Focus on goals and meaning
The Stay Well Company, LLC (2018). What is mindfulness and what does it mean.