What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness. It seems as if everyone is talking about mindfulness.

Mindfulness improves mental focus, brings clarity, improves energy levels, and reduces stress.

Just what is mindfulness all about, and how does one “do” mindfulness?

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the state of being compassionately, non-judgmentally aware of what is going on around you. This might seem fairly simple. Don’t we always pay attention to what is going on?

I’m sure we can all remember times we have walked into a room and completely forgot why we went there. Most of us have experienced driving somewhere and getting so involved in thoughts or a discussion that we barely kept track of where we were driving. Maybe we’ve even missed a turn because of that.

There’s also the “non-judgmental” aspect of the awareness. Our news-cycle world drives us to judge and rate everything we see. Women are judged based on what they wear. Homeowners are judged by the size of their house. Parents are judged based on how their children behave. It seems like this cycle of judge-judge-judge is built into everything we do.

It doesn’t have to be.

How Do You Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is something you can practice at any time, in any place, in any situation. Here’s one way to begin.

Take in a long, deep breath, filling out your upper chest, mid-chest, then lower abdomen. Let your abdomen billow out. Feel that oxygen fill you and nourish you. Pause.

Now let the breath out, out, out, releasing all those toxins and negative energies. Let the carbon dioxide and other waste products flow out of you. Pause.

Continue breathing slowly and steadily. Observe what is going on around you. Are there things you might normally make judgments about? If you’re home, might you normally think negatively about some clutter or an undone task? If you’re in the company of other people, would you normally make judgments about their clothes, hair, or possessions?

When you find those thoughts happening, acknowledge that it is going on. The human mind gets trained to fall into ruts; this process strives to reveal and examine them. Be compassionate with your mind. Examine the thought. Then let it drift away, like a floating cloud. It is just a thought. Bring your attention back to the scene around you.

Observe the scene. Appreciate the scene. Be attentive for judgmental thoughts. When they come up, let them go. Return your attention, again, to the scene.

This practice of regaining your focus is valuable not just for this practice time but for life in general. Building your mind’s strength and energy supports every single thing you do. It can make every task run more smoothly and efficiently.

Look to incorporate mindfulness into each day. You’ll be impressed with how much it benefits every aspect of your world.

How are you going to incorporate mindfulness into your life?

Annie xo

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– Annie Gibbins