Mindfulness is a practice of focusing on the current moment-to-moment experience of breathing and body sensations, faithfully refocusing whenever the mind wanders. The focus should be purposeful, in the present moment and non-judgmental.
The first step of mindfulness involves maintaining that focus on the present moment, self-regulating one’s attention with conscious awareness and intent. The second step of mindfulness involves adopting an open and curious attitude looking at experiences with non-judgmental acceptance.
A practice of mindfulness doesn’t just call to mind the present-moment but also retains the information non-judgmentally, as one component in the cultivation of self-analysis.
Mindfulness is the opposite of forgetfulness.
Research-based evidence has shown that people who practice mindfulness experience:
– greater ability to cope with daily stress
– lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms
– greater ability to learn and focus
– greater energy and enthusiasm for life
– increased resiliency
– enhanced interpersonal communication and relationships
Mindfulness allows us to fully experience our lives, moment by moment. This presence allows us to be more attentive to the pleasant events in our day to day world, and helps us be more skillful in navigating times of stress and suffering. –Mindfulness Hamilton
Start by closing your eyes and choosing a focus for your breath.
It can be at your nostrils, your chest, or the rise and fall of your abdomen, wherever you feel your breath most naturally. Keep your focus on your breath at that place, and follow the breath in and then out again for the duration of the exercise. When you notice that your attention has gone elsewhere, such as to thoughts like “I’m breathing too fast or too slow” or “I’m not comfortable” or when your attention has wandered completely away, out of the room even, notice that and acknowledge the source of the distraction in an accepting, non-judgmental way. Then gently bring your attention back to your breath.