Mindfulness is traditionally related to the practice of meditation in which people learn to pay attention in each moment with full intentionality and with friendly interest. Meditation is not about clearing the mind, but rather coming to see the mind’s patterns. Daily meditation practice allows people to see the way in which certain patterns of mind lead to escalation of emotions, despite our best efforts to control them. It also allows us to see more clearly what sorts of actions lead to more wholesome outcomes in everyday life.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. We may not always have full control over our lives, but with mindfulness we can work with our minds and bodies, learning how to live with more appreciation and less anxiety.
When we start practising mindfulness, we’re embarking on a journey that helps us live life more fully, to really be alive.
Meditation and mindfulness practices have Buddhist origins and have been around for thousands of years. But recently in western healthcare, they have been formalised into therapies. This means you don’t need to be religious or spiritual to learn to practise mindfulness and enjoy the benefits. For decades now, scientific research has been showing how useful these therapies are for reducing stress, anxiety and depression, helping people manage a wide range of physical conditions, and for our general wellbeing. So mindfulness isn’t only useful if you’re feeling stressed or have a mental health problem – it can help any of us enjoy a more wakeful, healthier, happier life.
Anybody can practise mindfulness; children, young people and adults can all benefit. It’s simple, you can practise it anywhere and the results can be life-changing. There are different ways to develop an understanding of, and how to practise mindfulness in daily life.
When people practice mindfulness meditation for any length of time, a number of qualities of their experience change. People say they feel more aware or awake, feel calmer and are more able to see clearly and gain freedom from their own emotional patterns and habits. They feel freer to be more compassionate to themselves and to others.