A negative mind set or an intense emotional experience can affect the way in which we experience the world and our responses. Mindfulness is one way of disengaging from or letting go of negative thinking or strong emotions. This allows us to fully participate in our experience and lead a balanced, meaningful life.
The basic guideline in this practice is to become mindfully aware of whatever is most predominant in our moment-by-moment experience. So if the mind is being repeatedly drawn to a particular place - to particular thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations, we deliberately and intentionally take a gentle and friendly awareness to that place.
We pay attention to our breath and bodily sensations. Notice each breath in and each breath out. Notice every wave of emotion and every thought that crosses your mind. Accept these bodily sensations, thoughts and emotions, and stop struggling to change them.
By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.
Acceptance allows us to become fully aware of difficulties and to respond in a skilful way rather than to react in knee-jerk fashion, by using our old (often unhelpful) strategies for dealing with difficulties.
Mindfulness is a way of bringing us back to experience life as it happens. When you’re mindful, it:
Helps clear your mind
Helps you be more aware of yourself, your body and the environment
Helps to slow down your thoughts
Helps you to respond to situations in a more positive way
Mindfulness does not need to be a formal meditation or relaxation. Bring mindfulness to each activity. Focus attention on your daily activities such as brushing your teeth, washing up, brushing your hair, putting on your shoes, doing your job. Feel the air on your face, arms, and legs as you walk. Are you rushing? Whenever you wait in a line, use this time to notice standing and breathing. Before you go to sleep at night, take a few minutes and bring your attention to your breathing. Be aware of negative thoughts that might be dragging you down.
Try and incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life to enhance your wellbeing.