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The Art of Mindfulness

Mindfulness sounds like it’s just another buzzword or the latest hype. The term “mindfulness” seems to be on the rise lately with articles and research appearing every day. But what is it exactly?

The Definition of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us, according to the website Mindful.org. Every human being possesses the characteristic of mindfulness; all we have to do is learn how to access it.

The Origin of Mindfulness According to Buddha

The Buddho Foundation is an organization that has a mission of enabling the spirit of Theravada Buddhism, assist people to live a moral, thoughtful, and purposeful life. According to them, Sati (commonly translated as “mindfulness,” but also as “bare attention” or “aware attention”) is the heart or essence of mindfulness meditation practices. Gradually, Sati has been accepted and changed as it traveled to the West, making it more acceptable to a wider audience. But on the other hand, some believe that it has lost much of its foundation, context, and depth of Buddhist practice.

Sati is also the awareness of one’s own mind, allowing one to avoid being preoccupied with worldly concerns. We create less and fewer air castles with sati, and we’re less absorbed by external and internal instability because we recognize it for what it is. In this way, we gradually free ourselves of desire and the agony that comes with it. In addition, Sati is not passive relaxation, but rather the mind’s ever-vigilant watchdog. The watchdog is always on the lookout for what your mind is up to, and by extension, what your body is up to. 

The Buddha taught four exercises to develop sati:

  • Kāyānupassanā Satipaṭṭhāna – establishing mindfulness directed at the body. 
  • Vedanānupassanā Satipaṭṭhāna – establishing mindfulness directed at feeling. In other words, a feeling that is neutral, pleasant, or bad
  • Cittānupassanā Satipaṭṭhāna – establishing mindfulness directed at the quality of the mind. 
  • Dhammānupassanā Satipaṭṭhāna – establishing mindfulness directed at mental states. 

Mindful Habits You Can Practice Everyday

Life can be difficult at times, especially with the pandemic, and we need to decide daily to keep moving forward. Mindfulness is a good way to deal with burnouts and keep stress under control. Here are some simple exercises that we can do every day to practice our path to be mindful.

Take a sit

Every morning, take a few moments to just sit down. May it be while staring outside the window, drinking a cup of tea, listening to music or news from the radio, it can help the mind to relax. Take a deep breath and rest the eyes for just a moment.

Meditate

The best way to understand mindfulness meditation is to experience it. In meditating, we’re making an effort to communicate with our minds. It takes some effort to master controlled breathing and block out all distractions, but it may be quite beneficial for relaxation and stress alleviation.

Create

Having a hobby that involves creativeness can also help to be mindful. Our creative side is thoughtful by nature, whether it’s drawing, painting, writing or taking photographs

Focus on one task at a time

Procrastinating can really affect the calmness and relaxation of the mind. We are not giving any of the tasks the attention they require if we divide our attention to many things. Focus on one thing before starting on another, and once that is done, take time to rest and then tackle the next task.

Breathe

Deep breathing is another stress-relieving tactic that works well when practiced as part of progressive muscle relaxation. Sit in a comfortable position with the eyes closed and breathe in deeply through the nose so that the stomach rises and falls. Then let the air out slowly through pursed lips, making a whooshing sound as you exhale. Continue breathing deeply for several minutes until you feel relaxed. 

Physical Activities

It is also important to spend time with the things that we love to do. For instance, sports like basketball, volleyball, football and other physical activities. Spending time entirely involved in an activity we enjoy, teaches us how to give that same attention and passion into other parts of our life.

Benefits in Mental Health

Mindfulness is a key ingredient for living present, creatively, and compassionately. It has also been scientifically proven that meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety. According to the Mental Health Foundation, mindfulness can help manage our mental health and wellbeing. There are various ways to develop mindfulness and each method can benefit people in different ways. Anyone can benefit from learning and practicing mindfulness, including children, teenagers, and adults.

Mindfulness is suggested as a treatment for some people who suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression, and also to those who just want to enhance their mental health and wellness.

It doesn’t take years of training to reap the benefits of mindfulness; only a few minutes of active practice every day can make a significant difference.