Mindfulness is best considered an inherent human capacity that enables people to focus on what they experience in the moment, inside themselves as well as in their environment, with an attitude of openness, curiosity and care.
Do you find yourself overly caught up in thinking about the past or the future? Replaying, regretting or longing for what has been? Or fantasizing about a perfect future? Mindfulness teaches us to be interested in what is actually happening right here and now, in a kindly, curious and fresh way and this helps us to accept the way things are, for better or for worse. This means that although life may still contain a lot of difficulty, especially if we live with pain, illness or stress, the quality of our life can be profoundly transformed.
Do you feel like you’re living on automatic pilot? We rarely stop to pay attention to what is going on around us and to check in with how we are. Mindfulness gives us the tools to see clearly what is going on in our lives, so that regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can learn to respond to them in a calm and creative manner. It helps us to move away from our habitual responses that are so often unhelpful, and find new ways of responding to the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by difficulties, isolated from others or cut off from the pleasures of life? This is not an uncommon experience when you live with pain, illness and or stress. Mindfulness helps us reconnect with what is good in our lives, even if that is one small thing at a time, opening us up to what is beautiful and connecting us to others and the world.
Are you looking for a scientifically researched approach to living well with pain, illness and stress? Over the last couple of decades there has been extensive research documenting a wide range of health benefits from mindfulness, including reductions in self-reported measures of perceived stress, anger, rumination and physiological symptoms, while improving positive outlook, empathy, sense of cohesion, self-compassion and overall quality of life. For a comprehensive summary of the research click here.
Want to hear more? Watch Vidyamala Burch, founder of Breathworks, explaining the benefits of Mindfulness.