Recently I was invited to share with a group of health professionals about mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of mind which is difficult to define by a simple sentence. In brief, mindfulness is:
- Sustaining our gaze within ourselves without fear or prejudice
- Refined awareness without trying to change our perception
- Meditative awareness to see things moment to moment
- Sustained, distraction-resistant attention to the movements of the mind
- Inner journey into the inner recesses of the mind
Mindfulness has a positive effect on our body functions. These include:
- Enhancement of the relaxation response
- Quick normalization of the stress response
- Improvement of cognitive activities
- Sharpening of perception
- Generation of positive emotions and dampening of negative emotions
Consequently, mindfulness promotes health, increases insight into one’s problems, prevents oneself from overacting to difficult situations and negative emotions, improves one’s cognitive abilities such as concentration and attention, and cultivates courage to deal with one’s problems. Mindfulness also frees us from our conditioning from our upbringing, childhood experiences and past trauma. It helps to alleviate a range of psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
Mindfulness is a state of mind that is foreign to most of us because we are living in such a fast paced world where we often try to pack in many things within the shortest possible time. The following is one way to cultivate mindfulness:
- Withdraw to a quiet place
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position
- Choose an “object” to focus on eg your breath, a body part etc.
- Keep a gentle focus on the “object” without analyzing or examining it
- Whenever your attention wanders off, just bring it back with no feeling of frustration
If you need some external help to get you started on mindfulness exercise, you may like to purchase the Calm Optimizer from The Management Toolkits Section.
Practice mindfulness regularly. It is a small investment of your effort and time but the return and benefit for your physical and psychological health is great.