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Mindfulness – The Basics Of Becoming Aware Of Your Mental State
Mindfulness is a term being thrown around a lot in psychological and therapeutic circles these days – but most people at large are still unaware of what exactly mindfulness is, and what benefits it can have for your mental health.
We’re here with a quick overview of mindfulness as a practice, and to provide you with the basics on mindfulness exercises like mindfulness meditation, and to talk about a few of the benefits of mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be thought of as an extension of awareness. Mindfulness involves being aware not only of your external experiences but also the internal experiences surrounding a moment. It’s a sort of “extra” presence – a sensation of being totally in the moment, and being totally yourself.
Mindfulness has long been practiced by many Buddhist traditions. The term “Mindfulness” is actually a translation of the Buddhist term sati, which is the first of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.
Sati refers to a total awareness of self and of the surroundings of the self and is usually achieved through meditation that forces the mind and body to focus on a single, repetitive action.
How To Meditate For Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation is not difficult – though it may be a little bit of a struggle to get used to if you’ve never meditated before.
Begin by sitting in a cross-legged position on a cushion or in a chair, and keep your back straight. Ensure you are comfortable, and then close your eyes.
Then, simply begin breathing deeply. Focus on the movement of your lungs and abdomen as your chest rises with the inhale and falls with the exhale, or focus on the movement of your breath through your mouth and nostrils.
Eliminate everything from your mind except that focus. If you become distracted, don’t be distraught – simply push away your distraction gently, and return to a focused state. Continue for ten minutes.
As you become more able to concentrate and focus on your meditation for long periods of time, you can extend the length and intensity of your sessions.
How Mindfulness Can Help Your Mental Health
While mindfulness is no substitute for appropriate medical and psychological treatments, practicing mindfulness meditation techniques can certainly help improve your mental state and eliminate negative feelings.
Famous People Who Meditate
Did you know that many successful people do meditation regularly? This includes celebrities like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Arianna Huffington.
For a list of 30+ successful people who mediate check this resource.
To Learn More About Mindfulness
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness and different mindfulness techniques and meditative methods, there are many resources out there, such as Mindful.org, and online mindfulness forums like Everyday Mindfulness.
These online tools allow you to connect with other mindfulness practitioners around the world, and share techniques and stories about your own experience with this practice.
Last But Not Least
You should definitely read The Miracles of Mindfulness written by one of the biggest authority of mindfulness Thich Nhat Hanh. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact, we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.” – By Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness
Have you read any books on mindfulness? Or do you use any particular app to practice mindfulness? If so, please comment below and let us know.