This is a busy world. You plan your day while listening to music and making yourself a cup of coffee. You fold up the laundry while watching your favorite cooking show on television and keeping an eye on the oven. But in trying to accomplish so many necessary tasks, we tend to lose our connection with the present moment i.e. by missing out on what we are doing and feeling. The question therefore is that your body is present, but is your mind present as well?
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation. The cultivation of mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism. Mindfulness practice is now being employed in Psychology to alleviate a variety of physical health conditions, such as bringing about reductions in depression symptoms, improving sleep, reducing stress and anxiety as well as in the treatment of addiction. It has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. It also helps in improving ones mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, couple conflict and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Mindfulness meditation is practiced sitting with eyes closed, cross legged on a cushion or a chair, with the back straight. Attention is put on the movement of the abdomen when breathing in and out, or on the awareness of the breath as it goes in and out the nostrils. It is said that if one gets distracted from their breath, it is believed that one’s mind has wandered. To practice mindfulness one can start with short periods of 10 minutes or so of meditation practice per day. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness.
Some experts believe that mindfulness works, by helping the people to accept their experiences which includes painful emotions rather than by reacting to them with aversion and avoidance. It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Mindfulness based interventions are effective in the reduction of worry and rumination.
Daily Practices which One Can Follow To Improve Mindfulness –
●While walking, walk in a rhythm, aligning your feet properly and be aware of your surroundings all the time.
●Take out a few minutes to focus on your breathing and observe every inhalation and exhalation.
●Organize your meals and do not be distracted when eating. Enjoy every bite and feel the taste.
●Be self aware, know your emotional limits.
●Stop being judgmental and impatient.
●Maintain a positive attitude towards yourself as well as others.
Be Mindful and lead a healthy life.
[Contributed by Angie Pereira, post graduate student of psychology, during her internship.]