We hear so much about Mindfulness and Mindful Meditation these days, but what do they have to do with mental health?
Unlike other forms of meditation, Mindful Meditation keeps us focused on what is occurring within us and around us at any given moment. You simply sit, and notice your breath. That’s it. As you sit, you pay attention to your breathing: the rise and fall of your chest, the air as it comes into your nose, and the sensations as you let it out, and the calm of simply being. Just noticing. At some point you’ll become aware that your attention has wandered, and your thoughts have returned to what’s normally there: memories, your day, what might come, etc... That’s okay. You can just notice that thoughts are there, and then just bring yourself back to your breath.
Over time, we gain a visceral learning: that we don’t have to succumb to our constant thoughts or emotional states; we don’t have to attach to them. Our thoughts are like clouds passing by. We can learn to let them pass gently by and allow ourselves to relax.
Mindfulness is an extension of this idea. It’s about being aware of ourselves and our surroundings: noticing the small things that fill our lives, those things that we often overlook. It’s about being present in the moment, and free from our mindless thoughts.
“The psychological research on mindfulness shows that it greatly enhances what psychologists call 'flourishing' – the opposite of depression, avoidance, and disengagement."
Christopher Willard, Psy.D.
"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize."
Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness & Mindful Meditation
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