Skip to content

MINDFULNESS 

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness, or mindful and accepting presence, is the act of stopping in the present moment without judging or analysing our internal or external experience in any way. When we’re mindfully present, we accept the present moment and, with it, our thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the here and now. Mindfulness and presence skills refer to the ability to focus on the present moment.

We all have a tendency to reflect on the past and plan for the future rather than living fully in the present. When we are mindfully present, we can choose where to focus our attention instead of having our minds drift from one object to another in an uncontrolled way. Being present also includes a gentle curiosity and openness towards ourselves and the world around us.

WHAT BENEFITS do MINDFULNESS SKILLS have?

Mindful presence has been widely studied, and its effectiveness in promoting both physical and mental wellbeing has been proven.

Learning to reach a state of mindful and accepting presence is helpful in relieving depression, anxiety, stress, and pain. But for many, it can also be the key to a happier, more relaxed, and more aware life. Regular practising of mindfulness skills has also been found to support physical health. In addition to adults, children and adolescents have been found to benefit from mindfulness exercises, helping them to focus, calm down, regulate their emotions, and learn.

OTHER FREQUENTLY OBSERVED EFFECTS INCLUDE:

  • Increasing creativity and positive emotions
  • Developing learning ability and improves memory
  • Developing interaction skills
  • Strengthening self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Improving stress management skills
  • Developing the ability to relax
  • Increasing the ability to accept yourself as you are
  • Helping to reduce a range of physical and psychological symptoms
  • Increasing joy of life

YOU CAN IMPROVE MINDFULness THROUGH EXERCISES

We can develop our mindfulness skills through a variety of exercises. The most typical exercises focus on breathing or sensory perceptions. The purpose of the exercises is to calm down and learn to become aware of your own feelings, thoughts and sensations, and to accept them as they arise in the present moment. Developing self-compassion is part of the practice of mindfulness.

Through these exercises, you can learn to see that thoughts and emotions are transient phenomena that are constantly changing.

The aim of these presence exercises is that in this very moment, we can be both relaxed and alert at the same time. The aim is not to make the exercise work as mere relaxation. The point is, on the contrary, that the exercise helps you to open up to this moment – and to be present with your various senses.

MINDFULNESS EXERCISES

LISTENING TO THE BODY

Get into a comfortable position where you can keep your body upright but relaxed at the same time. Close your eyes and turn your attention inwards. Listen to what your body is feeling right now. What are the different sensations and feelings in your body? Do you feel tightness in your chest, a lump in your diaphragm, tense shoulders? Are there any pleasant sensations, relaxation, or a sense of space?

We can accept our body’s sensations and let them be, despite any feelings of discomfort. They don’t need to be fought or suppressed. Through accepting these feelings, we can practise accepting ourselves and our current state. The exercise can continue, for example, until you reach a sense of acceptance.

FOCUSing ON BREATHING

Get into a nice, upright position, where you can straighten your back and keep your body relaxed. Close your eyes and turn your attention to your breathing. You do not need to try to influence your breathing in any way. Observe how the body breathes on its own. You can pay attention to the underside of your nostrils and the physical sensations that arise from the flow of air during breathing. You can also focus on how your breathing feels throughout your body. You can watch your chest and belly rise and fall in time with your breathing. If at any point you notice that your mind wanders off somewhere else, gently but immediately return it to observing your breathing.

OBSERVING THE ENVIRONMENT

Pay attention to your surroundings and see where you are. Observe your surroundings in a neutral way. Put on your beginner’s glasses. You can look at different shapes, different colours, and variations in light and shadow. If you find that your mind starts to analyse, judge, or compare perceptions, return your attention to pure and direct visual perception. At the same time, you can become aware of the vast, broad wealth of information your field of vision can reach.