Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to what's happening while it's happening, without judgement.
Why is this important? Most of the time, we aren't aware of what's going on in the present. Instead, we get caught up in thoughts about a past which is gone, or fantasizing about a future that hasn't arrived. Which leaves us with very little understanding of what's going on right now, around us, and within us. This state of unawareness can lock us into auto-pilot, bouncing from one reaction to another, leaving us feeling depleted, confused, and unhappy.
Add to this the hyperactivity of our culture, with its emphasis on speed, productivity, and consumption, and it's no surprise that we can find ourselves chronically dissatisfied. When we develop mindfulness, we create a calm 'eye in the storm'. From this more tranquil perspective, life slows down, enabling us to stop reacting automatically and start responding more skilfully. Mindfulness brings with it:
STRESS & ANXIETY REDUCTION
Stress and anxiety are the results of being carried away by the currents of life buffeting us. Without a foundation of calm, we're pulled in different directions by our desire for things to be different. By developing mindfulness, we're less apt to be controlled by external forces, and more able to respond effectively, resulting in reduced stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness is being fully aware of what is happening as it unfolds, in the present moment. It's a powerful and natural ability but often remains untapped as when we're chronically lost in thought—anxiously anticipating the future, being stuck in the past, or going through the motions of our lives reflexively.
Mindful awareness helps us to acknowledge, “This is what's happening.” Instead of resisting or denying reality, we accept what is in the moment, whether we approve of it or not. Only by first accepting what is can we make the appropriate choices that can enhance our lives.
Awareness of the 'now' can free us from habitual reactive patterns, allowing us to relate to what's occurring internally and externally in a more skillful, compassionate, and creative way.
The practice of mindfulness helps us work with difficulties in life, while also experiencing the joy that's available to us, but often remains unrecognized when we're caught in wanting things to be different.
Mindfulness helps us tap into our natural wisdom and inner resources, giving us the power to direct our responses, even when we can't control the situation.
Feel free to contact me for more information on mindfulness courses and how I integrate it into my therapy practice.