Why Mindfulness? What is the hype all about or is this just another fad?
~“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive”~ Thich Nhat Hanh
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, mindfulness means focusing our attention on the present moment without judgement. Sounds easy and simple, right? Maybe not. We live in a frantic world full of distractions. All too often we are multi-tasking and rushing from one thing to the next. That pretty much sums up my life! How often are we truly in the moment? We think about the past or fret about the future and miss the precious moments that are unfolding before us. I am guilty of this on a daily basis! How about you?
I heard about mindfulness about a decade ago and wondered what all the hype was about. I thought to myself, does mindfulness really work? I had images of people sitting cross legged meditating in some sort of Zen like state. I wondered if I could slow my life and my mind down long enough to try this. My curiosity got the better of me, along with my desire for a more peaceful existence. This led me to become a participant in an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s, MBSR program. Each week I looked forward to my mindfulness classes, my escape from the chaos and the peace of mind it brought me. We learned that mindfulness was not just about sitting and meditating to quiet our mind. Mindfulness meant paying full attention, without judgement, to whatever arises and to be able to tune in to every aspect of our lives instead of being lost in thought or on autopilot. Participating in this mindfulness program was very healing for me and I developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for mindfulness, how to practice it and the many benefits of living mindfully.
Upon completion of this program, I was transformed into a mindfulness enthusiast! I sought out more mindfulness courses, read countless books, reviewed mindfulness websites and watched hours of mindfulness podcasts, soaking the knowledge up like a sponge. I realized that mindfulness was not some hippy thing, it had actual scientific evidence behind it. For instance, did you know that mindfulness can help not only quiet our busy minds, it can enhance sleep, improve focus, increase energy, lower blood pressure, manage pain and reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress! In essence, mindfulness is good for our physical and psychological well-being.
Watch this link to learn more about mindfulness and its benefits.
Mindfulness is now commonly integrated into therapy given it is evidence-based. I became so passionate about mindfulness that I was determined to transfer this knowledge into my practice. Since 2012, I have facilitated over a dozen mindfulness classes and learn something new every time. I recognize that while I have training and expertise in mindfulness, I cannot be limited by my own experience and knowledge. I strive to remain open and curious about each individuals’ experience and to learn from their participation in the group. I always say there is no one way or right way to practice mindfulness. Just let it flow and let go!
So remember mindfulness is not just about meditating and sitting quietly, it’s about paying attention in the moment to whatever we are experiencing. This can be brought to any and all experiences from eating to breathing, driving, walking and spending time with loved ones!
So what are you waiting for? Ready to participate in the mindfulness movement and find out what the hype is all about? You too can experience transformation in your personal and professional life!
To help you get started, I have included some mindfulness websites and apps you can explore. I hope there is something here for everyone.
If you want to learn more about mindfulness and how to practice and incorporate this into your life, book an appointment with me at Compass Rose Wellness Inc. In the New Year, I hope to offer some Mindful Living classes. >
Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com
Stop, Breathe &Think: https://www.stopbreathethink.com
Pocket Mindfulness: http://www.pocketmindfulness.com
Mindful Living: http://www.mindful.org
By Cheryl Hines, BA. BSW, MSW, RSW
Social Worker at Compass Rose Wellness Inc & Mindful Living Enthusiast
Figure One: Meditation word art. [Digital Image]. (2018). Retrieved from http://technologyformindfulness.com/2018/04/
Figure Two: Reset Your Mind. [Digital Image]. (2017). Retrieved from https://journeyofamadman.com/2017/05/02/know-when-its-time-to-reset-your-mind/
Figure Three: Meditation. [Digital Image]. (2018). Retrieved from https://mindyoga4u.com/about-vegetarianism-writings-of-lev-tolstoy-in-defense-of-life/
Positive Psychology (2019). The 23 Amazing Health Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain. Retrieved 02/06/19 from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/
The Mindfulness Institute. (2019). Retrieved 02/06/19 from http://www.mindfulnessinstitute.ca/mbsr/
Youtube. (Producer). (2017, August 2). Mindfulness [Video file]. Retrieved 02/02/19 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pJ0L8_ADeE