What is being mindful?
Being mindful involves a process or a state of mind where there is deliberate attention and focus on what you are experiencing. These experiences include internal thoughts and feelings, along with the external stimuli in the environment. In mindfulness, attention to events & experiences happens without any prejudice or judgement. A mindful person does not attempt to theorize or explain their experiences. In other words, the focus is on awareness and understanding over explaining and justifying. Being mindful is to be fully present in the current moment.
Are people born with a mindful nature? Some may be, but mindfulness is a skill that can be adopted, acquired, and honed. We need one key component to do so - practice!
How does being mindful help self-care?
The use of mindfulness for health and wellbeing can be traced back to different cultures & rituals in history. It is seen in the form of Vipassana in Yoga and is referred to as Sati in Pali within Buddhism. It has also been used in clinical settings from the 1970s, with multiple studies conducted on its positive impact on mental health.
Mindfulness-based activities have a proven impact on various aspects of wellbeing. Some studies show that mindfulness helps with stress reduction, an increase in quality of communication, an increase in empathy, and improved focus and memory. At its essence, mindfulness actively supports our emotional, mental & spiritual well being. The impact of consistent and determined mindfulness practices are seen across various aspects of life, from our professional arenas to social relationships and even our self-image.
How can one practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness is often correlated to mediation, and rightfully so! One of the best practices to inculcate mindfulness in our daily lives is through meditation. However, mindfulness goes beyond our meditation. It can seep into all aspects of our self-care and wellbeing as we progress on our journey with being mindful.
We normally think of meditation as a person sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed, breathing slowly or chanting. However, mediation is so much more than sitting erect for a considerable amount of time. Multiple scientific definitions aim to describe what meditation entails. While these objective definitions aim to cover all aspects of meditation, it is innately a subjective experience. What might be meditative for one of us need not be for another individual. Finding our meditation path in life which leads to mindfulness is unique to each of us.
Keeping this in mind, allow us to now list a few popular types of meditation:
Now that you understand the use of mindfulness and different meditation techniques to practice it, the next step would be to start practicing it! You can choose your modes of being mindful, whether it is through guided meditation sessions or by simply noticing the flavors and aroma of what you eat. Go at your own pace and care for your body, mind and soul. If you need help or are in doubt, feel free to reach out to a professional who can guide you further.