So many of us spend a lot of time replaying the past or worrying about the future. In doing this, we are missing out on so much of our lives!
Mindfulness helps us to be more present, develop a greater capacity to deal with difficulties and ultimately enjoy life more fully.
Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as ‘paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally’.
A more comprehensive definition is provided by Vidymala Burch. She says that ‘mindfulness is a training whereby you cultivate awareness of what is actually going on physically, mentally and emotionally so that you can gradually change your perspective and feel like you have more choice in how you relate to life’.
Mindfulness practices encourage you to be aware of what difficulties you are experiencing, whilst giving you the tools to relate more skilfully to what is going on. We cannot remove stress from our lives, but we can learn how to respond to it more effectively. As Kabat-Zinn says: ‘You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf’.
Mindfulness is not a ‘quick fix’. In the same way that you need to exercise regularly to become physically fit, you need to practice mindfulness regularly to become mentally strong. Yet, as little as ten minutes a day has been scientifically proven to change the structure of the brain and help enhance well-being, resilience and mental health.
There are now hundreds of mindfulness books on the market, but no amount of reading can substitute practice. Mindfulness really is something that has to be experienced to be fully understood, much like swimming. We encourage you to take the plunge!