Why mindfulness is more, than just a buzzword
Mindfulness practice may be the only thing that does not stick with you… but in fact it sticks with you because it let´s you enter the real self, awareness, this moment, your breath, heartbeat, compassion… you name it,”
– S. Kaven
Just a buzzword?
Mindfulness has become a bit vague in meaning, a word one might think, is about to lose its meaning to the meaninglessness of words. But this is not quite true here, even though mindfulness by now appears to be attached to all and everything. Celebrities are drawn to it and swear by it, while business leaders use mindfulness to keep away the burnouts in a world of high demands and time pressure.
Now, mindfulness is nothing new and only because we become aware of its power, does not mean, we have to carefully learn something new. The truth seems somewhat different and lays in the noticing of what mindfulness through an open heart is able to show us. So, it doesn’t really matter, how people, institutions or business is getting acquainted to the word “mindfulness, what matters is, if they give it meaning by practicing mindfulness.
Let´s take a look at what mindfulness is truly about and what benefits derive from mindfulness meditation. But before I get into it, perhaps one more note at this point. It may be worth saying at this point, that the positive feedbacks are applying to everyone. Feedbacks in this case, what our experience may be like. So, no matter if you are a business owner, a manager, an office worker or a mum / dad, staying home with a newborn, mindfulness is applicable to each and everyone of you, because it is a natural part of our being.
The past 30 years have seen exponential growth in research examining mindfulness and meditation, scientifically validating numerous health benefits. and alone in 2016 over 667 papers have been published on the subject matter of the former.
Let me quote a couple of very interesting information from the Forbes.com website, which were published just this month (Sep.2017). Forbes has been quoting a paper, which made the assumption, that the benefits of a mindfulness practice are based on four simple components. These components can be experienced throughout an 8-week MBSR course for instance, and most certainly across a lifetime.
The AMRA provides a scientific database of over 4,500 academic publication references on mindfulness from a contemplative psychology and practice perspective.
Let´s take a look at those four components and let me elaborate.
Attention regulation, is the ability to maintain awareness on an object of meditation, like the breath. It is practiced, in part, by gently and repeatedly bringing attention back to the object of meditation when distracted. This means in a wider sense, that through free will, you are able to regulate your attention by moving your attention towards something and away from for instance a thought or judgement. The secret lies here in the repeated practice of bringing your attention back to the intention of a practice.
Body awareness is the ability to monitor the body and notice its sensations. It is very much an experiential practice, which, is thought to foster emotional awareness and empathic response. This can be practiced and experienced through mindfulness to the body by perhaps mindful walking, mindful yoga or simply through the body scan, as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Change in perspective on the self is the ability to alter self-perception or even better to simply notice self-perception. The, if you like ME, the underlying ME and MY story lead us to a distorted if not even to a false sense of self and therefore false self-perception. Mindfulness is thought to increase one’s ability to see the self as an impermanent and changing part (object), which when noticed can lead to enduring forms of happiness. We always have a choice and we can chose to be with that perceived sense of self or try changing it, which would lead to discomfort through resistance. So, mindfulness meditation let’s us experience the impermanence and finite existence of the self in a given moment.
Emotion regulation is the ability to adjust emotional responses through a variety of techniques and strategies. What is meant by that is, that mindfulness practitioners are tending to rather expose themselves to the emotional experience and feelings, instead of reacting to the former. In other words. When we experience emotions and feelings, we do notice them mostly somewhere in the body and we are leaning towards, accepting them, as to what they are in this moment. Through self-compassion, we can even actively visit parts of the body, for instance with our hands and helping so the passing of the emotional experience itself.
Certified Mindfulness Teacher
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