What is mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness is the ability to know to what's going on in your head right now, without getting carried away by it.
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repeat as ne
"you can't control the waves,
but you can learn to surf"
- Jon Kabat-Zinn
More formally speaking, mindfulness is a state of being where three attentional skills are engaged in the present moment.
The ability to focus on what you want, when you want
The ability to untangle the events of sensory experience, to detect sensory events that were previously unconscious
The ability to let sensory experience come and gowithout push or pull
How to cultivate mindfulness?
Mindful awareness is a skill, one that can be improved through three basic training strategies:
Drop the intention to control attention
eg. choiceless or open awareness
Intentionally create and maintain positive mental images, mental talk, or pleasant emotions and body sensations
eg. practice gratitude, loving-kindness meditation
Track sensory events with or without mental labels
eg. following your breath, following your heart beat, noting when a thought arises 'thinking, thinking'
Nurture the Positive
Strengthens our mental muscle for bringing focus back where we want it, when we want it.
Becoming aware of our patterns enables us to gradually change habitual behaviors wisely.
Observing our emotions helps us recognize when they occur, see their transient nature and choose how to respond.
Seeing things objectively reduces the amount of narrative we add to the world's natural ups and downs, giving us greater balance.
Breathing and other mindfulness practices relax the body and mind, giving access to peace independent of external circumstances.
Awareness of our own thoughts, emotions and senses grows our understanding of what other people are experiencing.