Mindfulness: A Better Understanding of Oneself
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overreact or be overwhelmed by what is happening around us. Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already has, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it. This indicates that the mind is fully engaged with what is happening, what you are doing, and the space you are moving through. This might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often digress. Our mind wanders, we lose touch with our body, and soon we’re consumed by obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or worries about the future. And that makes us nervous.
Types of Mindfulness Exercises
- Mindful eating – this means paying attention to the taste, appearance, and textures of what you eat. Try it while drinking a cup of tea or coffee, for example. You can focus on the temperature, how the liquid feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes, or watch the steam it gives off.
- Mindful movement, walking or running – When exercising, try to focus on the feeling of your body moving. When you go for a walk, you may notice the breeze on your skin, the feel of your feet or hands against different textures on the ground or surrounding surfaces, and the different smells around you.
- Body Scan – Here you slowly move your attention through different parts of your body. Body scanning is to be done from the top of the head to the toe of your body. You could focus on sensations of warmth, tension, tingling, or relaxation in different parts of your body.
- Mindful coloring and drawing – Rather than trying to draw something specific, focus on the colors and the feel of the pencil on the paper.
- Mindfulness Meditation – involves sitting quietly to focus on your breath, thoughts, sensations in your body or things you can perceive around you. And if by chance your mind starts to wander on some other thoughts bring it back to the present moment. Many people also find that yoga helps them focus on their breathing and focus on the present moment.
How to practice Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness can be achieved through meditation, but it can also be practiced through everyday life. Focusing on the present moment and silencing your inner dialogue can help you achieve mindfulness. Take time to notice things in the world around you, including your own feelings, senses, and thoughts. Focus on slowing down and enjoying the things you experience. Rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future, try to just perceive what is happening right in front of you. Being present is very important for Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness meditation regularly has benefits for both your physical and mental health. For those who tend to get “angry” during meditation (don’t worry, you’re not alone), there are other ways to make your mindfulness practice easier. Gardening, listening to music, and even cleaning the house can become a mindfulness practice if you choose the right approach.
Focus on the present and silence that voice inside—the one that offers a running commentary on what you’re doing, what you’ve done, and what you’ll do. The goal is not to silence what is going on in your mind. Instead, try to observe your thoughts, and when you feel that your mind is wandering bring your attention back to the present state. For those who tend to “tingle” during meditation, there are other ways to ease into the practice of mindfulness. Gardening, listening to music, and even cleaning the house can become a mindfulness practice if you choose the right approach.
Advantages of Mindfulness Exercises
Techniques and therapies collectively referred to as mindfulness meditation or mindfulness therapy can improve physical and mental health and increase cognitive performance (Tang, 2015). More specifically, they can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation is thought to work not by eliminating stress in life, but by helping you deal with it by dampening your body’s stress response. Brain scans revealed that eight weeks of mindfulness techniques led to changes in volume, connectivity, and activity in key brain regions that improved healthy but anxious participants’ ability to regulate their emotions. Group mindfulness programs have reduced anxiety and panic symptoms in people with a generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder and have helped these people maintain their improved condition. Mindfulness-based therapy has helped people between the ages of 50 and 80 improve their sleep quality. Mindfulness training in schools can improve children’s behavior and well-being and help them sleep better. Mindfulness programs can improve chronic pain management. Preliminary evidence suggests it could improve outcomes for stress-related illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and diabetes.
Disadvantages of Mindfulness Exercises
A study has shown that people who practice mindfulness can be less connected to reality. On the other hand, mind wandering is better than mindfulness at preventing false memories, so adding different forms of mind wandering can help balance your mental practice. Although mindfulness has been found to be helpful for problems requiring analytical thinking (clear mind), greater states of mindfulness have been associated with lower states of creativity. Mindfulness won’t help you when solving a problem requires insight. Instead, of that try to practice mind wandering. Once again, because mind wandering shuts down mindfulness, it effectively shuts down the creative brain. In particular, positive constructive daydreaming can help you if you’re looking for creative insight into a challenge you’re facing. It can lead to increased states of dissociation and a sense of disconnection from one’s own body. In addition, it can make people more psychotic, anxious, and manic. Mindfulness will make you feel better because higher self-esteem can be associated with aggression toward others, self-enhancement, and narcissism.
So whether to practice Mindfulness or not
It is important to note that context can play an important role in the results. Mindfulness used in a therapeutic setting and guided by a trained professional may be more likely to produce desirable results, while practicing alone or in a group without training or supervision may be more likely to have adverse effects.
Mindfulness practice has been shown to have lasting positive effects with benefits increasing with practice. However, it has its pitfalls and this needs to be considered before practicing any kind of mindfulness practice because we need to get the most out of these practices, but in a positive way, so precautions should be taken or professional help and guidance should be taken.