What Mindfulness Is And Isn’t
With more and more people suffering from stress and anxiety throughout the world, mindfulness has become a tool that is used by many to build a better life for themselves. This natural practice utilizes breathwork and many different tenants to help one learn how to navigate the challenges of the modern world. But just like with anything else, mindfulness often is misunderstood. Understanding what mindfulness is and isn’t is important to having a successful practice.
Mindfulness is a tool that allows you to build habits that help increase your focus and has a huge impact on your physical, mental, and spiritual health. It allows you to build skills such as acceptance and curiosity that help you connect better with the inner and outer world. But it isn't a relaxation technique, it's not meditation, and it is definitely not a trend.
Understanding what exactly you are utilizing to build a happier and healthier life is key no matter what type of lifestyle change you're making. With mindfulness, it's even more important because going into it thinking it is something it isn't will never allow you to have a successful practice. So let's take a look at what mindfulness is and isn't.
Mindfulness is a spiritual practice that has many ties to Buddhism. Though it is not specifically a Buddhist tradition as mindfulness techniques are utilized in a wealth of different spiritual practices across the globe, it is still most associated with Zen Buddhism.
Through the exercises built within this practice, one can balance their energies and navigate through the world more easily. Mindfulness brings with it a wealth of benefits that one can take advantage of. So here is exactly what mindfulness is:
Oftentimes our minds take us into the past or worries about what's going to come to us in the future, this challenges us in our ability to stay in the moment. Mindfulness offers skills that allow you to focus better on that present moment.
Living in the Moment
Being fully present not only will improve your relationships, but your life in general. Mindfulness works on your ability to do just that. It allows you to focus on the feelings within your body and the thoughts and emotions that come through in every single situation. It connects you with both your outer world as well as the inner world.
Many of us fear the unknown, and that leaves us paralyzed when it comes to new experiences and feelings. But this sometimes leaves us never experiencing some pretty amazing things.
Living in the moment allows you to take in everything you can, and this in turn will help create a more open mental space when it comes to new thoughts and feelings. In other words, mindfulness will help you open up your curiosity and allow you to experience the world fully with as little fear and uncertainty as possible.
No Judgement & Acceptance
As we grow, oftentimes through no fault of anyone, we're taught that there are good emotions and bad emotions, good thoughts and bad thoughts. Naturally, when you label anything bad, our immediate reaction is to try to change them or act on ideas that will help us change them.
But every single thing you feel, and experience, has a purpose in your life. By being able to take in the moment and not judge the situation or yourself, you're going to be more open and understanding and accept yourself as well as others.
Connection to the Inner and Outer Worlds
Connection is the key to happiness in life. But so often in this day and age, we are disconnected not only from the world around us, but from the world within us as well. The reflection and focus on staying in the present and being aware of everything around you helps to develop a connection and better alignment of energies.
With this comes a level of gratitude that far exceeds what you currently have. Gratitude will help you be happier and allow you to connect with similar needs and experiences of everyone and everything around you.
Oftentimes, a lot of our stress and anxiety comes from holding on to things or people or experiences that interrupt them. These can oftentimes result in fear, and that in turn leads to mental anguish and spiritual deficiencies.
By grooming the mindfulness skill of non-attachment, you're able to let go of things easier and understand that everything happens for a reason.
Oftentimes, many of our issues crop up when we have extreme highs and lows in our lives, and we react to those. But when things go more towards the lows, we tend to become very emotional, and this can in turn cause some serious problems.
Mindfulness helps us garner the ability to really react more peacefully. In other words, by being less reactive, we will walk a more peaceful and nonviolent path.
Compassion is an important skill to have in life. Not just for those surrounding you and the world you live in, but for yourself as well. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with the world or the other person and automatically condemning them, compassion teaches you to step away from the situation and look at everything with an objective eye. By doing this, you can understand how you and others are feeling about their pain and be able to empathize with them on whole new levels.
Though mindfulness is very popular, there are a lot of misconceptions that come along with the practice. So let’s get rid of those misconceptions and dive into what exactly mindfulness is not:
Though you may find you feel more relaxed, mindfulness is not a relaxation technique. Mindfulness is a lifestyle change that allows you to notice your surroundings and be able to navigate difficult situations.
Sure, meditation can be part of your mindfulness practice, but mindfulness is not a meditative practice. Mindfulness is something that you use in every aspect of your daily life. Basically, mindfulness is the ability to do things throughout your day in a calmer way with more empathy and sympathy.
Not A Technique
Mindfulness is not a technique, it is a way of life. It is the practice of building skills that allow you to navigate your life. It is something that will be perpetual and ever-changing and not something that is a one size fit all patented technique
Mindfulness can help deal with stress anxiety and other mental and physical health problems, but it is not something that is a miracle cure. Mindfulness is a tool that you can use to address these issues, but it is not about healing those issues, it is about learning to live in a manner that reduces situations that could exacerbate physical, mental, and spiritual health issues.
All About Being Slow
There are a lot of practices within mindfulness that instruct you to take your time doing things. This is to teach you how to notice the small things and the way that they make your body feel. But that in no way means that everything in mindfulness is meant to be done slowly. In fact, sometimes slow is not the best path to dealing with situations.
Clearing your Mind
Oftentimes you hear people say clear your mind. This is a phrase that is specifically attached to mindfulness and meditation. But the practice is not about clearing your mind, it's rather about being able to quiet yourself enough to acknowledge the thoughts and handle them more mindfully.
There are a lot of research projects and studies out there that have to do with the effects of mindfulness and its health benefits. And though you can do projects on it, this practice is not a scientific one. Rather, it focuses on feelings and intuitions and the sensitivity of those. It is a lifestyle and spiritual practice and not a science.
Though when looking at it, one might think that mindfulness is a new practice and definitely one of the trendy things to do, it is not a fad or a trend. Mindfulness is a lifestyle change that allows one to harness their thoughts and inner energies in order to live in a balanced way with the world surrounding them as well as their own universe within. Mindfulness has been around for centuries and will be for centuries to come.
Understanding what mindfulness is and isn’t is key to deciding not only if it's the right path for you, but how to create a consistent and successful practice. By focusing on mindfulness and what it is, one can find their way to that happier and healthier life that all of us dream of as our heads hit the pillow every night.