Mindfulness is a much used and little understood concept.
It is a potential tool for ‘self-development’ in the context of a rapidly changing and increasingly complex social environment. Mindfulness practice has a part to play in the creation of a sustainable health care system. With regular practice, mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you improve your overall well-being.
Up to 50 per cent of our potential happiness is determined by our genetic makeup and ten per cent by life circumstances that are out of our control. Forty per cent of our potential happiness is determined by what we do in our daily lives and how we think. Our environment and lifestyle choices (including our diet, exercise and stress levels) can have a profound impact on which genes are turned on or off.
Mindfulness skills including meditation techniques can help us get back on track.
Psychological understandings have progressed from analysis of personal history to an emphasis on making change here and now. Positive psychology shifts the focus from what is clinically wrong to the promotion of well-being and the creation of a satisfying life filled with meaning, pleasure, engagement, positive relationships and accomplishments. It is about being aware of ourselves, our capacity for gratitude, how we interact with others, as well as being in the here and now.
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to the present moment with intention, openness and curiosity, and without judgment – there is no good and there is no bad. It is a willingness to accept what is. It is experiencing each moment as it unfolds in its purest form, without judgment and without colouring it with our own biases and perceptions – it’s letting go of past regrets and the worries of what the future might bring. It is learning the practice of being in the present moment, consciously being aware and giving our full, focused attention without judging.
Mindfulness can be understood as a practice, a mental state, or a personal trait. As a practice it is distinct from meditation. In the Buddhist tradition mindfulness and meditation are two distinct limbs of the eight-fold path and anyone who has practised both can testify to the difference. Meditation practice can increase the amount of time living mindfully. Spirituality is no longer intrinsically linked to religion, although a spiritual experience is understood to be a key to well-being.
As a mental state, there is receptive and open attention to present moment experience and awareness of bodily sensations and mental states.
As a trait, it naturally varies in dispositional manner and is characterised by increased capacity in the brain to regulate, learn and return to more positive mental states.
Mindfulness is a technique often used by natural health care practitioners. It is a practice that has the potential to effect change in people’s ways of being in the world.
Mindfulness is now mainstream in the corporate world and the benefits of its practice are readily observable. The corporate culture adopts programs teaching staff about mindfulness, meditation, clarity of thought and focus.
Mindfulness can be cultivated through simply changing the focus of attention. Mindfulness practice is a form of personal development.
Mindfulness meditation is increasingly used in classrooms around the world as a tool to improve student well being and enhance academic performance, as well as improving listening skills.
Mindfulness measures have been proven to reduce stress and promote positive leadership, well-being and resilience. When staffs are trained to recognise signs of stress, anxiety and mental illness, mindfulness techniques can help overcome these issues and promote an overall positive experience.
Paying attention, concentrating on work and having clear thoughts are obviously beneficial. The more people focus on their work the more they can achieve.
Mindfulness can be understood as a vital component in the drive towards health care reform as it promotes lifestyle change, ‘leveraging the body’s innate capacity to heal itself’, and may be ‘the key to creating a sustainable health care system for the 21st century’.
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