What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an essential human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are, and what you are doing, thinking and feeling. To be present, attentive and alert from moment to moment is a natural capability, which we all have. The levels of presence can vary. However, you can develop and strengthen those skills with mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness also helps to develop resilience. Resilience is the core strength you use to lift the load of life. It enables you to withstand adversity, bounce back from life's downturns and grow from life’s challenges. Resilience also helps you prevent the same negative patterns from reoccurring in the future.
Key characteristics of mindful and resilient people:
Kindness and patience
Throughout our lives, we experience various mood states and emotions. We are never equally happy all the time or sad. At times, we are satisfied, other times we feel out of sync, insufficient or not well. Being able to switch between different moods and emotions is normal. We should be able to accept them and be aware of them.
If we are stressed and not well for a more extended period of times, we need to learn to handle our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts have enormous power over our lives. And they can be challenging to manage.
Mindfulness is a powerful way to harness our mind states, thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness teaches us to be. Not to be in a certain way but to be able to accept the present moment as it is. This doesn’t mean a passive approach and blind acceptance of the way things are or being a proverbial doormat. Mindfulness teaches taking responsibility for oneself and responding to the situation in a skillful way. Observing and understanding.
Reduce stress and help with better stress management
Improve sleep and overall well-being
Increase focus and memory
Have a positive impact on interpersonal relationships
Boost compassion towards self and others
Mindfulness practice develops the ability to relate to thoughts and emotions as transient and helps break the habitual thinking and reactions patterns. As we train our minds and become more alert, we can notice our thoughts and feelings, observe them without engaging and use free will to choose how we respond to our emotions and thoughts. This helps increase resilience, develops emotional strength that is important in the times of crisis or everyday challenging situations.
Mindfulness will not teach to solve stressful situations in life. It will instead help develop and strengthen clarity of mind, focus, ability to respond skillfully to challenging events and deepen interpersonal interactions.
Programs based on mindfulness have been applied for the past 40 years in the field of physical and mental health, and overall well-being. Mindfulness programs are currently approved by National Health System of England (NHS) and recognized as a medical treatment by many US insurance companies.
Large companies, (Google, Goldman Sachs, and Nike), and many educational institutions are implementing mindfulness programs for their leaders and employees to improve their wellbeing.