Mindfulness is knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it. It is moment-to-moment awareness, has the quality of being in the now. There’s a sense of freedom, of perspective, of being connected, not judging.
Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way. On purpose, in the present moment. According to Rick Hanson, attention is like a spotlight and what it illuminates streams into the mind and shapes your brain”
So, developing greater control over attention is the single most powerful way to reshape the brain and thus the mind.
Understanding the definition of mindfulness, we can now clearly say mindfulness is not solely relaxing the body or emptying the mind. Instead, we learn to be an observer of our thoughts or emotions without the need to get involved with them. This helps us to be less reactive and make intimate contact with each moment of our lives, however trivial or mundane it might be.
When we stay present and aware as we do our day-to-day activities, it becomes an informal meditation practice. This can substantially help reduce the stress we accumulate throughout the day. Which is incredibly important this time of year!
As we begin to pay purposeful attention to our actions, our surroundings, and our behavior, our attention creates intention. It is intention that allows us to establish a cadence that is comforting and less stressful as we live joyous lives.
Take these three key actions to improve attention- 1) Set an intention. An intention allows for us to stay focused on the outcome. For example- I am focused on the present or my mind is steady and clear. 2) Be Alert. The brain cannot be attentive unless it is fully awake. A few factors that can increase alertness are getting exercise, sitting tall, visualizing, deep breathing and keeping the mind quiet. 3) Quiet the Mind. Quieting the mind starts with quieting the body. This can be accomplished by focusing on the breath and slowing the cadence of our activity. Activity can include yoga, walking in nature, stretching and flexibility or running. Really any activity that allows you to get away from daily stress.
Be aware- Stay focused- Be purposeful and Enjoy each moment.
First it is an intention
Then a behavior
Then a habit
Then a practice
Then second Nature
Then it is simply who you are
Your life becomes fuller when you set your sights on Mindful behavior
~Sara Atwell~ December 2021