Mindfulness is a technique used in meditation and is becoming increasing popular in the West. It is a practical way of improving your life by bringing awareness to experience. It allows us to be with whatever our present experience is without judgment. By becoming more aware we can then see how we can make ourselves suffer and then we can bring choice into how we respond to life.
A typical session may involve a focusing of attention on your breath coming and going. This focus allows you to notice thoughts as they happen.
Instead of struggling with those thoughts or judging them instead you can notice that they come and go of their own accord. This can lead to the understanding that you are not your thoughts. You can watch and notice as they come and go, like your breath.
At the heart of mindfulness is self-compassion and gently letting go of that critical voice we often let rule our moods, decisions and how we react to life.
Benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness can help to put you back in control of your own life. It helps to reduce stress and prevent depression. It can help those who live with chronic pain and other long term conditions, it can help with parenting and some people use it to enhance their performance in sport or work by improving focus and understanding themselves better.
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You don’t have to have a problem to benefit from mindfulness; it is an effective way of enhancing anyone’s life.
There has been a lot of scientific research into mindfulness and these studies have shown mindfulness to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, stress and irritability. These states will still arise but when they do they can be released before they take a toll on the individual.
Further research has shown that people who regularly use mindfulness/meditation see their doctor less often and spend less time in hospital than people who don’t use mindfulness. Other benefits of mindfulness include increased creativity, better memory and faster reaction times.
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