What is Mindfulness?
I think of mindfulness as way of living that gives us some time out and peace from life’s pressures and worries. It gives us clarity and focus in each moment. It’s free and can be done in the privacy of your own mind.
Google’s definition of mindfulness is:-
“1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness of the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
It’s the latter explanation I’ve been attempting to achieve, for its intended benefits. I really suck at it. I’m told it takes practice though, so I won’t be too hard on myself. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort.
What is Mind Fullness?
Mind fullness is a colloquial term for when our head is constantly full of thoughts about the past, present and future and everything in between. They swirl around, getting all mixed up together. The thoughts pile gets so big it can feel claustrophobic. The important ones become misplaced and the unhelpful ones find their voice. Our fuse gets shorter and shorter. Tolerance levels drop. We can be forgetful and very easily distracted. Ask me anything! I’ve got mind fullness down pat!
I can get up to get a drink and be distracted by the washing machine turning off. So I’ll hang out the washing and go back to what I was doing. I’ll then remember I was getting a drink, so get up and pour one and put the bottle back in the fridge. Then I’ll remember I need to make a phone call, so I’ll do that and go back to what I was doing. Now I think of my drink again and need a wee. So I go to the bathroom and as I’m sitting there I’ll notice the bathroom mirror needs cleaning. So I’ll clean that and then go back to what I was doing. As I sit down I’ll see my drink sitting on the kitchen bench. True story!! Granted, it’s kinda productive. But fuck it’s frustrating!!
Why Choose Mindfulness?
Thoughts are just that, but they have a way of coming to life, taking over, evoking emotions and causing us stress. That’s when we shout at the kids because our patience is gone. We’ve given it to that jumbled mess in our minds. Being mindful allows us to separate from the current situation and calm our farm. By taking a deep breath and focusing our attention we can become aware of our thoughts, emotions and sensations in the body at that moment. We stop being taken hostage by them, becoming an observer instead. Then we can make a conscious choice as to what we say or do next. We can claim control of our reactions and words, and in the process learn so much about ourselves.
Who wouldn’t want to choose a less chaotic way of living?? I like knowing I can feel what I feel, but I am not what I feel. I don’t like that conflict between wondering if I’m a cranky cow, or if I’m actually a happy, good person. How can I be both? It’s been a battle of good and bad for so long. I accept I will never be perfect and I wouldn’t want to be anyway. I’d have no funny stories to tell. But I hope as time goes on I get to the point where mindfulness is second nature. I need to keep remembering that I don’t need to react. I have a choice. What I want is to find peace of mind to make the right choices.