Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzz word and practice, however, that being said, it doesn’t negate the benefits of living a mindful life. Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years and you have possibly already practiced it, or probably have, in some form or other during your life.
Mindfulness is about living in the present moment. This doesn’t mean that you don’t make plans for the future or reminisce about the past, rather it means that when you are making your plans or reminiscing about the past, you are fully present in the activity. It also prevents the traumas of the past and the worry of imagined futures from negatively impacting your present moment.
Developing a mindfulness practice allows you to become an ‘observer’ of how past hurts and traumas may be influencing your current moment. It encourages you to become curious about how and where in your body you may be holding the emotions and memories and what beliefs you hold about these experiences. It also allows you to be here, grounded in the present, enabling you to take control of any overwhelming emotions about the future rather than spiralling into panic.
When you begin a mindfulness practice you may be quite surprised at how little time you actually spend in the here and now. We mostly live on autopilot, going through the motions of daily, what may be considered ‘mundane’ tasks. Bringing your attention to these daily tasks actually gives us a very special opportunity to live. Next time you brush your teeth, notice all of the elements at play; the shape of your toothbrush, contemplate where your toothbrush came from, who invented them, where it was made, how it got to you, what made you choose the colour and texture of the toothbrush, the toothpaste that you use, the way you put the toothpaste onto the toothbrush. Do you then run it quickly under the water or put it into your mouth as is? What temperature is it? What texture? How does it feel in your mouth, how long before your mouth salivates and the paste become foamy? We haven’t even begun to explore your teeth, but hopefully you get the idea; be present for your life!
If you are interested in finding out more about mindfulness, how it can aid in enhancing your life and help you to work through any past hurts and traumas, there are many books and lots of information. I would encourage you to explore this most wonderful way of living, there are many mindfulness practitioners out there who would be delighted to share their passion about living a mindful life. I know I would!
Helen Gibson MA
Mental Well-being Ambassador for the Peoples Health Alliance.