Written by: Lisa Harrietha-Benson
Mindfulness as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of mindful based stressed reduction) is the act of paying attention to something in the present moment in a non- judgmental way. The practice of being mindful is becoming quite popular in many areas of the world and with all ages. An online search of mindfulness programs will show programs for children, youth and adults. You will also notice many benefits of mindfulness being listed such as stress/anxiety reduction, pain reduction, increased focus and attention and even increased compassion.
I truly discovered mindfulness practice about two years ago when I took a six week introduction to mindfulness practice. As I started practicing regularly and taking more time out to just be- I was able to see lots of benefits of practice. Today I will tell you five secrets of mindfulness.
- You do not have to be attached to a religion to practice mindfulness. Though meditation is rooted in Buddhism, practicing mindfulness does not have to be attached to any particular religion. It is not necessarily prayer but it is just being in the moment, noticing what you notice.
- Mindfulness practice does not have to take hours and hours in the day. Some people may think if you are in meditation mode you have to carve out hours in your day but really you can add mindfulness in fifteen minutes a day or perhaps in short spurts during the day taking breaks to stop, breathe and pay attention to what happens around you.
- Mindfulness practice does not have to be still or silent. Taking time to be mindful can happen when your eating, walking, listening to music or having conversations. As you go about your day notice how things make you feel (physically and emotionally)!
- Mindfulness can help you find happiness. As you grow in your practice you may find your life is opening up to happiness. You may be more in tune with the present and more aware of joyful moments.
- The fifth thing I would like to share is that it takes time to build a practice. If you are just starting your practice or you feel like you don’t keep up with it. It is ok just keep up with it and forgive yourself often.
So as you take up a mindfulness practice just take time to notice what you notice, stay in the present, be easy on yourself and let things flow.