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What Is Mindfulness?

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

What Is the Meaning of Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

The quote above makes it sound quite simple; mindfulness is paying attention. But, paying attention isn’t always simple, is it? And, there are a couple more descriptors in the definition that complicate things further: “on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” are slippery suckers. That’s why mindfulness is referred to lovingly as a practice.

When you pick up the violin, you know that there will be some work required, that you aren’t going to sound like a superstar immediately. Close your eyes right now, and just imagine your very first effort. See yourself resting a brand new violin lovingly under your chin, feel the bow in your hand as it makes its first pass over the strings hear the sound that emerges: screech!

Do you walk away saying, “that’s it, I can’t play the violin”? Or are you mature enough to know that it will take a few things to grow into it? Mindfulness is no different. It takes practice.

How do I start mindfulness?

When you decide to play the violin, it’s likely because you love the sound and want to make beautiful music. Perhaps your goal is in a more physical realm, and you want to be able to play a rousing game of tennis. You know you need to practice your swing, your serve, your volley to become a worthy opponent.

Whatever the case, when you start something new, you start by starting the same way: one step at a time. The same is true with mindfulness.

Don't expect yourself to be able to sit in silence, or even to do a guided exercise for an extended period of time without any distraction.

Start with an intention. Let it be reasonable and kind to yourself. Perhaps something like:

"I intend to be more receptive to my inner voice today." or "I give myself permission to sit in silence without judgement for 1 minute this morning."

Then whatever contract you have made with yourself, stick to it. If it was 1 minute, 3 times a day or 10 minutes every day is less important than honouring your word to yourself. No one learned the violin by playing it when the mood struck. Discipline is part of mastering anything and your mind is no exception.

Why is it worth it to stick with it and practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness Helps Improve Focus:

Mindfulness is about “paying attention, on purpose”, to what is happening externally and internally.

People often think that success with mindfulness involves shutting down and creating a vacuum of nothingness. Actually, it is the opposite. You don’t need to stop all of your thoughts and become mindLESS.

Instead, begin to notice your thoughts, become conscious of their nature.

Anytime you want to change something; first, you need to know where you are at. What are your current habits, patterns and beliefs? You are always attracting what you focus on, whether love, fear, negativity, or hope.

See what form your thoughts are taking. Do you notice a lot of negativity? Do you have a great deal of self-talk, or are you more prone to blame or criticize others? When you think of a negative thought, is it followed by a feeling immediately? Where is the feeling, what is it? See if you can attach a name to the feeling that goes with that thought.

Begin noticing how you breathe as you are sitting in a quiet moment. Describe the breath to yourself. Start to pay attention to the observer that resides in you who is witnessing your thoughts, feelings, impressions and reactions to life. Say hello, when the observer starts a commentary. Acknowledge its existence and develop your concentration.

Mindfulness Helps You Engage More Fully in Life:

Mindfulness is about BEING in the present moment.

Mindfulness isn’t strictly about allowing thoughts to continue to stream, uncensored. What is the point of that? Instead, once you have met your observer, developed your focus, and increased your concentration, you can begin to CHOOSE the nature of the thoughts you entertain.

You can decide if you want to follow a negative thought or not. And why would you? Negative thoughts will not support a positive, growing, happy life.

Instead, when a negative thought rears, ask “where is this coming from” “what purpose does this thought have”, “is there something for me to learn here that I am not seeing?”.

A coach can help you with this. It can be challenging to remember that every problem or seemingly negative aspect of life is a lesson waiting to be learned if you are willing to grow.

Mindfulness Helps You Be Less Judgmental

Mindfulness can help you tune in to your divine nature. You are a divine creation. So am I. That means neither of us is any better, worse or equal to the other. We are all unique, and we are all connected. How can one snowflake judge another, or one wave upon the ocean judge the next?

The Little Soul and the Sun is a beautiful parable that illustrates this concept so well. Each of us is already perfect and has all that we need, yet sometimes we forget who we are. Sometimes we need a friend to remind us. There was a time when I had forgotten who I was, and my coach reminded me.

Now, I work with women all the time and remind them of the love and light that is already there.

Mindfulness Helps You Be less Anxious & Regulate Your Emotions

Anxiety and other intense emotions can hi-jack you quickly. You can go from zero to 100 in just a few seconds unless you have an effective technique under your belt. Mindfulness techniques like breathing, body scans, and grounding meditations are very effective at quickly interrupting patterns.

Instead of waiting for a high-stress, triggering moment and whipping out a mindfulness trick, do a daily practice of 5-10 minutes a day to build up your mental strength. Like with any emergency drill, you will be more able to respond when you have developed a habit ahead of the need.

Mindfulness Helps Decrease Stress

You may think you work well under pressure. I used to say that I could multi-task and felt quite proud of my ability to be constantly “on”. And, it is known that some stress is a good thing. When students are slightly stressed, they do better at exam time, for example. Learning is heightened with mild levels of stress. However, when pressure increases beyond mild and it is sustained, learning and performance decrease substantially.

Chronic stress is a killer. Elevated cortisol is intended to be useful during your emergency, fight/flight response and then subside. When you are in a constant state of stress, and the cortisol level remains high, you risk mental and physical health effects.

Download this Mindfulness technique to help you keep stress at a manageable, useful level so you can maximize your potential.

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If you would like to find out how to become more mindful, connect to yourself, discover your confidence and discover your power so you can make a big impact in your own life and in the world the very first step is to find someone you trust. I am here to help you on your journey within to be the best you can be.

Click this link for a FREE 30-minute consultation and let's get started together to create a life that you are proud of.

#loveandlight #makeadifference #LifeCoach #InnerChildWorkout #howtomakeadifference #canyoumakeadifference #intuitivecoach #Meditation #FemaleEmpowerment

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