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What it means to be Mindful

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Mindfulness - a word that has been used more and more throughout our communities, workplaces and health care activities. It's such a simple, easy thing to say, not always so easy to get mindful. It's assumed it's intent is clear, that we all want to be more mindful, right?

But what does that actually mean?

Being mindful means maintaining a state of conscious awareness and paying deliberate attention to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the environment around you in a non-judgmental manner. It involves being fully present in the current moment and observing your experiences without getting caught up in automatic reactions or distractions.

How do we know we are being mindful? Lets explore some concepts that may help you to better understand what it is, and how it resonates with you.

Mindful is to be present

The official definition from Oxford: "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something", literally paying attention to life that is unfolding before you - not caught up in past or future worries or plans. There are a few anchors for your awareness to connect with the present - our 5 wonderful senses, our breath, our internal sensations, or it might be a specific object in your environment.

To be present involves focusing your attention on the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It's about fully engaging with whatever you are doing or experiencing right now. Easier said than done! But with regular practice, this becomes a valuable healthy habit, one that can be useful in so many other parts of life.

Mindful is non judgemental

Mindfulness encourages observing your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without labeling them as good or bad. This helps cultivate a sense of neutrality and acceptance toward your experiences.

Mindfulness allows you to respond to situations rather than react impulsively. By observing your thoughts and emotions without immediate judgment, you create space for more thoughtful and conscious responses.

Mindful is to be open and curious

Being mindful involves approaching your experiences with a sense of curiosity and openness. This means exploring your thoughts and feelings as if you were seeing them for the first time.

Mindful is to be self-aware

Through mindfulness, you can develop a deeper understanding of your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. This self-awareness can lead to better emotional regulation and more intentional decision-making.

Mindful is accepting and compassionate

Mindfulness encourages self-compassion and self-acceptance. Instead of criticising yourself for your thoughts or emotions, you learn to acknowledge them with kindness and understanding.

Mindful is a way of life

Not just sitting on a cushion, but a life long mission to cultivate more mindfulness into every aspect of our lives. Since learning about Mindfulness, I have had many teachers and opportunities to test it out in many aspects of my life, my different roles, my habits, and helped me to create some healthy space between me and circumstances and experiences - that space has been crucial for my growth and expansion. It has and continues to be a fundamental part of my life and perspective on living, and is a life long practice.

Mindfulness can be cultivated through various practices, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and simply bringing conscious awareness to everyday activities. Regular mindfulness practice has been associated with numerous physical, emotional, and psychological benefits, including improved focus, enhanced emotional well-being, and better overall quality of life.

If you want to learn more, come along to a class, or contact us to learn more about 1:1 mindful coaching opportunities.

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