You’ve probably heard that a more mindful approach to life helps you with everything from relationship troubles to work stress. But what does being mindful really mean?
Mindfulness does not need to be complicated. There are many definitions floating around, but from my perspective, being mindful is simply the ability to carefully observe thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. Mindfulness is living in the present moment, as opposed to ruminating on things which have happened in the past, or worrying about what might happen in the future.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction said it best -“Mindfulness is not really about sitting in Lotus Pose pretending you’re a statue in the British Museum. It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment.”
Keep in mind – the way we think is as much a habit as any other. So, in order to change the ways we think, we have to practice and develop a new habit. It takes time to develop a new habit, so be patient with yourself. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes of quiet meditation and progressively build up the time. I often compare the process to house-training a puppy. If you train the dog with aggression and cruelty, it will become obedient, inflexible, and neurotic (and probably pee in the house MORE). But, if you use kindness and firmness, your puppy with grow into a confident dog who can trust you.
Over the month of March, I will be providing weekly, simple exercises to develop your mindfulness practice. Stay tuned, and happy practicing!