To simply be in the present moment, fully aware of where we are, how we are feeling and what we are doing, while staying calm and non-judgemental, is to be mindful. It is our basic human ability that we all naturally possess. However, our brain needs a bit of daily training to make mindfulness available to us whenever we need it. This is where mindfulness meditation comes in handy.
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If you have practiced meditation, you’ve probably had that moment trying hard not to be distracted by the outside sensations or the “monkey mind” always coming up with new thoughts and ideas. Mindfulness meditation does not render our mind absolutely free of any thoughts. However, it takes us on a journey of exploring the workings of our mind.
We learn to be fully aware of our sensations, emotions and thoughts. And we do this without judging, avoiding or attaching ourselves to any situation. In this way we train our brain to let go of all the negative and unnecessary patterns and habits, and to live in the present moment with complete love and kindness to ourselves and others.
Mindfulness has enjoyed an extraordinary surge in popularity in western countries in the past couple of decades. It moved from an unknown two thousand years old Buddhist concept to a well-researched stress-reduction practice used by many corporations, universities, hospitals, etc.
Research studies show that mindfulness improves emotion regulation, increases immune function, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, increases clarity in thinking and perception, enhances ability to deal with illness and life-threatening events, decreases depressive symptoms and much more.
You can learn more about the advantages of integrating mindfulness in your everyday lives, workplace, schools and more in this Harvard article here.
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