A journey to explore Mindfulness (part 1)

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
conquer life, live in the moment, and live in the breath”
– Amit Ray.

Mindfulness can be beneficial both for mental and physical health. Concentration, focus and acceptance are a very key part of it.

What does it mean to be mindful?

It means to honour oneself and involves a state of total awareness, where focus is purely on the present moment. It is all about pausing the unlimited wandering of the mind. Breathing and observing our own organic pace of the process of breathing.

Thoughts, concerns, are observed as they are, with no judgement, creating a space to be detached in the experience.
MBRS (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) is a program designed by John Kabat-Zinn to manage coping with pain and anxiety. MBSR, cognitive techniques as well as mindful movement, relieve stress, anxiety, and boost creativity, improving the overall mental and bodily sensations.

Dr John Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre developed the programme around observing thoughts for what they are. Thoughts do not define us. They simply are. Focus and awareness of the “here and now”. Accepting and understanding that every moment is experienced in a unique manner with no past and no future is very beneficial. Being in the present moment can in fact be an extremely transformative experience.

Mindfulness, really, is living in the present moment. Easier said than done!

It is unknown where thoughts come from. Perhaps experiences of the past of something we have leant and is stored in our subconscious. Do they perhaps come from somewhere outside the brain and the mind?

Being mindful means paying attention to all the details. Total focus on the here and now.

Multitasking is very common in our society (even becoming part of a lifestyle). Yet it can be very detrimental and it is best to be avoided in order to practice mindfulness.
Feeling peaceful admiring nature (and breathing deeply). Mindfulness can be applied to a daily routine (e.g. making coffee, having a shower).

It can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, help sleep better (all the techniques being a form of meditation). It is impossible to be both stressed and relaxed at the same time and mindfulness can increase moments of relaxation. This is the very final goal of the process.

Where did mindfulness originate from?

It stems from ancient Buddhist practices. It can be traced back to the Hindu, Muslim and Indian culture. It mainly belongs to meditation practices. During meditation the mind becomes quieter and a journey inwards begins. The very purpose of the practice is to help the mind calm down and relax the body. Meditation involves a state of consciousness, not necessarily a technique. It is not bound to any religion, but it can facilitate a connection with our own spirituality.

Mindfulness and meditation both work on a physical, psychological and spiritual level.

Brainwave frequencies slow down and this can help reframe your mind-set and reduce both anxiety and stress.
In meditation thoughts are absent whereas in Mindfulness there is awareness of those and know that thoughts do not define us.

John Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Founder of Massachusetts, PHD and Founding Executive, Director of the Centre of Mindfulness at the Medical Society of University of Massachusetts. He is also the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic where he teaches Mindfulness and MBSR.

MBSR’s research is based on mind and body interaction and the process of healing and on the applications of Mindfulness Meditation Training, how that impacts on the brain. He was multi awarded for his work.

Kabat-Zinn studied with Buddhist teachers, such as Master Seung Sahn and he is also the founding member of Cambridge Zen Centre. Kabat-Zinn is considered as a scientist. Mindfulness mixes art and science to be applied in real life.
He founded the clinic in 1979 at the University Of Massachusetts Medical School where he adapts his learnings to his teaching methodology.
MBSR was renamed and offered by several centres and hospitals. As it is a fusion of Science and Art. Mindfulness can help cope with stress and anxiety.

Emotional Intelligence is by definition the capacity to recognise your own feelings and the feelings of others. It can help manage our emotions and motivate others. According to some, it can be learnt, boosted and for others it is inborn.
Expressing, controlling emotions and understanding, interpreting. Mindfulness means being more aware of those emotions. Being mindful means view emotions and thoughts as separate or something not to give attention, even if temporarily. EI is recognised to be very key in Leadership and business. It can always be developed.

As a result, self-awareness is increased (understanding strengths and weaknesses). It guides our behaviours and helps in interactions with others. Work relationships can be handled more effectively, too.

Being mindful can be extremely beneficial in life to detect distracting patterns and stop them, reprogram the mind and think in a healthier way. In addition to that helps tap into inner resources, live life to the full and perceive its uniqueness, moment after moment.

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