What Is Mindfulness
Elephant on a tightrope Elephant on a tightrope
18 October 2015 Written by Leslie Glass
Published in Bloggers
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Leslie Glass Mindfulness Has Become A Buzzword For Healing And Experts Say It Can Save Your Life
Mindfulness is the therapeutic buzzword for many kinds of human repair these days. It is a concept that is used for everything from weight loss, to balancing relationships, to trauma healing and addiction recovery, to name a few. Present Moment Awareness Without Judgment may seem pretty out there as a cure-all. And it might also be headache-making if you’re not a meditation fan or don’t know how to meditate. But could mindfulness actually save your life?
Are You The Opposite Of Mindfulness
Have you ever eaten a candy bar and then started another one because you didn’t actually taste the first one? Have you ever kept eating, or drinking, or fighting, or working because you have no Stop Button. Do you have feuds with loved ones that go on and on? Do your days pass without moments of real joy or happiness? These are signs that you are not aware, and not in the here and now.
Mindfulness Is A Special Kind Of Awareness
Mindfulness at its simplest is being aware of what is happening right now in your body with all your senses. It is observing your experiences in the fullest possible way without judging yourself, or thinking of other things. It is also a way of creating space for the Stop Button, and the Smell-The-Roses Buttons that you need to be happy. You want to let go of what ails you and be healthy and happy, right?
Why Is Living In The Present Moment Fully Aware And Without Judgment Healing
Scary thought, but whether you are suffering from loss, or failed relationships, or family trauma, or you are deeply ashamed of what you have done in the past, you could well be stuck in the quicksand of your own mind and can’t move on. Your own head is not necessarily reality. Your thoughts are simply what you think. Mindfulness is the tool to get out of your head and expand your thinking to a more positive approach.
What Medicine Alone Cannot Do
Infections and other physical illnesses can often be treated by medicines alone. Behavioral and substance addictions and emotional traumas, however, need an actual change of thinking and lifestyle for real recovery to occur. Addiction isn’t all in your head, but recovery starts and grows there. Here are 4 ways mindfulness can help you let go and change.
They say it takes 15 minutes for a craving to pass. Mindfulness teaches you to use your senses to experience everything around you: the sun, the breeze, the smell of your surroundings, the sky, the people around you, and the feelings in your body. Focus on the taste of that cup of coffee, every tiny bite of what you’re eating, the conversation you’re having, the sun or rain on your skin, simply breathing in on five counts in and out on five counts. This practice of mindfulness can occupy you for as long as it takes to forget what you wanted fifteen minutes ago. If you’re stuck in one place, look out the window and breathe.
2. Living In The Past
Who isn’t stuck with baggage from the past? You’re mad about something. You’re deeply hurt about something, maybe many things. You know you’ve had trouble with addictions, or people in your life who have addictions. You relive everything associated with your experiences over and over. Or you keep thinking about a man or woman or loved one who’s gone from your life. Mindfulness about every little positive thing in your life now can bring your smile back and get you out of the quagmire of negative experiences. Being with animals can help. So can growing things and watching the actual changes in a plant or flower. Having good experiences, and lots of them, helps you let go of bad ones that hold you back.
3. Excessive Worrying
Are you a worrywart? Someone who worries needlessly and excessively about unimportant things? That would be me. I constantly second-guess myself about everything I’m doing. Are you a pessimist who thinks of all the things that can and will go wrong—flights not connecting, getting lost, being late. Bridges collapsing while you’re on them? Mindfulness keeps you thinking about what is, not what might or could go wrong. The bridge is in fact holding up. The flight is on time. You are where you should be, or at least you are heading there.
3. Living In The Future
Are you a dreamer, or a person who discounts what’s happening now because everything will be fixed in the future? You will have your dream partner, job, house, vacation, outfit—whatever it is you think will repair your life and make you whole. Mindfulness keeps you in the present and helps you feel grateful and satisfied with the fact that you are alive today. No matter how bad you think your present is, there are always good things to appreciate. People who long for a better future, without actually working for it or enjoying their lives as they unfold, often find themselves disappointed with whatever outcome they achieve. Even if it’s great wealth they will still be looking for something more.
The Origin of Mindfulness
The root mindful comes from old English and means: “related to memory,” or “being thoughtful.” Mindful is being aware, or watching out for what’s around you. Mindfulness is a new word for an ancient concept that many indigenous peoples around the world have always used for expanded consciousness and healing. The word Mindfulness came into being in the 1970s, with Jon Kabat-Zinn, who had studied Buddhism in India and believed that the ancient practices of Buddhism and meditation could be used for stress reduction and healing in the West today.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Psychology today
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Leslie Glass is a journalist, playwright, and the author of 15 novels, including 9 USA Today and NY Times bestselling suspense novels featuring NYPD April Woo. In 2010 Leslie made a career change when she founded Reach Out Recovery and produced and directed the award winning documentary, “The Secret World Of Recovery,” and “The Silent Majority” which was distributed by American Public Television in 2014, 2015. Leslie is currently developing more websites and technology to further the recovery and healthy living cause.
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