Let’s start by saying what mindfulness is and how it works.
Mindfulness is a technique that has its roots in Buddhism and meditation.
Mindfulness is the quality of being fully present and engaged in the present moment
with no distraction or judgement. We want to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, but we don’t necessarily need to get caught in them.
We can just observe how we feel, our minds, our bodies and our surroundings and
we do that by cultivating this moment-to-moment awareness, keeping in mind that
meditation is one tool that can help us do so. Our minds naturally tend to spiral and overthink or think about challenging past experiences and uncertain future ahead.
Mindfulness works by taking your mind to the present moment and away from other
thoughts. Learning how to be more present means learning how to live more
mindfully and accepting our feelings and thoughts without believing that there’s a
right or wrong way or feel in each moment.
Let’s not be intimated by it though and keep in mind that mindfulness is a skill and
like any other skill, it requires a bit of time, work, and practice to be mastered. When practising mindfulness on a regular basis, you might naturally feel calmer and less stressed, more self-aware, and perhaps more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings.
Studies have shown that practising mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can bring
a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits.
Here are some of these benefits, which extend across many different settings.
Research done on MRI scans of people who practice mindfulness has shown
amazing results. It appears that certain areas of the brain may shrink or grow in response to regular
Studies show that after a few weeks of practising mindfulness the grey matter in the
prefrontal cortex (area of the brain dedicated to problem-solving and emotions
control) can become thicker. A similar process takes place in the hippocampus (memory and learning area) where the grey matter seems to grow showing increased activity in these areas of thought.
Studies have also shown a correlation between stress and mindfulness, where it
seems that the grey matter in the amygdala (the region in the brain responsible for
stress regulation) become smaller after practising mindfulness.
So how do we practice mindfulness?
Let’s really try to be present, notice and observe what happens in our bodies the
feelings and sensations we have. Practice mindful eating and pay attention to the flavour, texture, taste of what you’re eating. When you are with someone, really engage with that person.
Often, we hear what people are saying but we aren’t fully present, often thinking of a response to give or distracted by other things or sounds around.
Whatever you do, do it with love and be all there!