Mindfulness: A Calming and Enriching Practice to a Fuller Life.
by Alexandra Delaroderie, MA
Life is precious and has so much to offer; yet our lives are busy with the daily routine of work, family, and activities. This fast paced hectic lifestyle causes stress, anxiety, frustration, and even depression. These emotions are natural; but sometimes can have significant effects on our behavior, bodies, mind, and well-being. It’s important to be able to slow down and enjoy the moments in life that are given to us.
Mindfulness is a path to enjoy and be present in life; it is a “method of mental training” (Williams and Penman, 2011, pg. 6). Mindfulness is to be purposeful in what we do and take time to be in and enjoy the present moment. It is all about focusing on that intention and acknowledging the thoughts and emotions, which enter the mind, without judgment, and being able to refocus the attention to the intention when distraction arises. When negative emotions arise, Williams and Penman (2011) say it’s not the mood that is damaging but the reaction to the mood (p.8). We have the ability to stop the negative and destructive emotions that makes us unhappy, anxious, and stressed (p. 11). It is the ability to recognize these feelings and thoughts and to observe with curiosity, as the thoughts and feelings drift away. According to William and Penman, mindfulness allows us to catch the negative thoughts before they dive into a downward spiral. It begins the process of regaining control in our lives. Mindfulness is about being kind to yourself and choosing not to act on the feelings, but to notice them (p.5). Meditating allows us to see things with greater clarity so that we become aware of those things that need to be changed (p.7). An example would be to focus on your breath and observe how the breath flows through your body; notice any sensations in your body as you breathe and as distractions arise, note them and let them go. Mindfulness takes daily practice for eight weeks; beginning with one minute of meditating and increasing the time each day.
Mindfulness has positive effects on the body, mind, brain, and well-being. According to Williams and Penman (2011), over time, “mindfulness can bring long term changes in mood, happiness, and well-being. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness prevents depression but also has a positive effect on brain patterns that underlie day to day anxiety, stress, and depression” (p.5).
Williams, M. and Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. New York, NY: Rodale Inc.
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