Cultivate Mindfulness

“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” – Amit Ray

Mindfulness is not about being relaxed. It is not about changing negative emotions to positive ones. It is about being aware of thoughts and emotions nonjudgmentally and observing inner experiences as they are. It is about radical acceptance.

Mindfulness helps us learn that everything is constantly changing, transient and impermanent. It helps people be in the present moment and allows them to truly connect with their surroundings, experiences and relationships. It is about activating our 5 senses and being more open to experience. It helps cultivate self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-love and even self-care.

Mindfulness allows us to take in life, let everything, positive and negative experiences alike to sink in. It even helps to detach ourselves from our thoughts and feelings, so we can see reality for hat it is and understand that our thoughts are not facts. It reminds people that negative experiences are temporary, and they will go away without consuming them.  It gives people clarity of mind, helping them to access their wise mind in the process. Particularly with deregulated individuals, it can be extremely powerful to observe experiences, participate without attachment and describe without thinking that their thoughts are facts.

In fact, mindfulness has been known to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, Binge Eating Disorder, panic attacks, cancer, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, obsessiveness, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, among others. In addition, it increases levels of melatonin, spiritual experiences and empathy. I suppose this tells us that it is not about what we live, think and feel, but about how we respond to what we live, think and feel.

Mindfulness can be part of a treatment package, practiced formally or informally in our daily lives (Germer, 2009). Formal mindfulness meditation is when we separate some time to practice structured mindfulness exercises. Informal mindfulness is taking time from our daily life to notice our lives. There are many ways to get started. Here are just a few examples:

Mindful breathing

  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Guided imagery
  • Body scan
  • Raisin Meditation
  • Mindful eating

The key is to PRACTICE. Mindfulness can be a beautiful, rewarding, and refreshing discipline to cultivate. Give it a try and notice the positive effects it has on you.

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