Intro to Mindfulness

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I am pretty obsessed with Mindfulness at the moment. It single handedly keeps me sane (well, almost…..).  But not only is it sanity inducing, it is also great for the brain – and that’s scientifically proven. Here is a definition:

According to Jon Kabat Zinn,  Mindfulness is “Paying attention in the present moment without judgement and with kindness and compassion.”

One of the easiest ways to stay in the present moment is to use your breathe to anchor yourself to the now. This is done through meditation.  Because mindfulness meditation is basically just breathing, it’s really easy. But, because mindfulness meditation is just breathing, it’s really hard.  Confusing?

As people, we are so used to doing, that when we actually stop and just sit, it is agonising. It’s typically very hard to get used to just being.  Once you start to practice, however, you find that there are amazing benefits.

In fact, there are many studies that show that Mindful meditation can actually rewire your brain. It improves memory, focus and the ability to handle stress. It helps to process and handle emotions, decreases the risk and severity of depression, improves sleep and increases our ability to feel compassion and empathy. Wow, now if this thing could cook a roast I think I’d leave my husband for it. And guess what? It’s not even just hype. It really does rock!

So for now, let’s be mindful for just a moment:

Sit upright.

Feel your feet on the ground.

Pay attention to the place where they touch the floor.

Take a breathe.

Feel it as it enters your nose.

Feel your stomach as it rises with the breathe.

Feel your stomach as it deflates when you exhale.

Listen to the sounds around you.

Feel the air on your skin.

Inhabit the now.

We have just meditated. If you would like to explore this further, Jon Kabat Zinn has some amazing guided meditations on iTunes and there are many great mindfulness apps. I can recommend Smiling Mind. Take this Navajo blessing with you as you go about your day: “May you walk in beauty.”

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