Why Mindfulness Works
It’s really simple: Mindfulness works like this. By increasing your ability to live mindfully and by developing mindfulness skills, you are much better prepared to manage stressful experiences. Both chronic distress and chronic eustress burn us out. Neither are activities we would consciously choose to engage in for extended periods of time. Both have a significant impact on our health, creativity and well-being.
However, when you live mindfully, learning to tend to and nurture your resilience and well-being, you can learn how living mindfully can revitalise, recharge and replenish you.
How to engage Mindfulness
‘Mindful Meditation’ is about remembering to care for yourself. We can do this by choosing kindness and compassion over anger, jealousy and distractions. To ‘Meditate’ means to remember – and ‘mindful meditation’ is about remembering to step to one side, observing what is happening, and choosing your next course of action.
Jon Kabat-Zinn supports this open minded approach. He says that mindfulness does not involve pushing thoughts away or walling yourself off from them to quieten you mind.
We are not trying to stop our thoughts as they cascade through the mind. We are simply making room for them, observing them as thoughts, and letting them be, using the breath as our anchor or ‘home base’ for observing, for reminding us to stay focused and calm.
When is the best time to do Mindfulness?
Being mindful is not limited to a time, location, posture or mantra. Mindfulness is a practice that you carry with you where ever you go. You can do it while walking, washing, playing, working, reading, writing, talking or even singing.
Whilst there is no time in particle that is best to practice mindfulness, it is important that you set aside a bit a time each day for practice. Think of it like an athlete training their body and muscles. When the athlete needs the benefit of their strongly trained muscles, they can engage them effectively and efficiently.
So, when we practice being mindful , we are effectively building our ‘mindfulness muscle’.
5 Easy Steps to Mindful Practice
- Find a quiet place, free from distraction
- Sit comfortably with your back straight, but relaxed (tip: use cushions or a yoga bolster if you need)
- Focus your awareness on your breath. Pay attention to the sensations of the inhalation and the exhalation. Start again on the next breath.
- Your mind may start to wander – that’s ok. No need to judge or change your breathing in any way
- Notice anything else that comes into your mind as a distraction. Let them go and return your attention to your breath.
Find out more about Mindfulness sessions
Jacquie Shannon, owner of Mindful Living CBR, started meditating four decades ago, through long distance running and yoga. She has been practicing mindfulness meditation for the last decade.
Having studied architecture and environmental psychology, working as an environmental advocate and policy-maker and having lived in an Aboriginal community for six years, she is fascinated by people and meaningful relationships, especially those that people form with each other and with places and environment.
She is trained in, and has been teaching mindfulness based stress reduction for the past seven years.
Her ‘Mindful Living’ programs are great for beginners and focus on the four foundations of skillful meditation which will support stress management, self-care and well-being.