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What is Mindfulness?

16 July 2013

Regional Returners

We hear a lot about the term Mindfulness, especially in relation to health and well being.

Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings and environment in each and every moment. It is about being aware of each of the sensations or activities going on internally and in your surroundings.

Mindfulness brings your attention into the current moment and by doing so you then become aware of what is going on internally (your thoughts, body, smells, sounds) and externally (sounds, smells, activities) at that moment. It also means the focus is on the here and now, and not on the past or future. Mindfulness can be applied to anything from walking, to eating and breathing, and even in business.

Another part of Mindfulness is not judging anything that you observe, instead you only notice the thoughts, sounds, smells, etc. The key is not to become attached to what you are observing. By remaining detached but curious about the moment, acceptance of what is present in that moment comes.

Mindfulness developed out of Eastern philosophies including Taoism and Yoga, and in particular Buddhism. It is one of the eight elements of the Noble Eightfold Path, which was taught by Buddha and emphasises mental development. There are three stages to develop mindfulness, according to Buddhism. They are: focus on the present moment, understand change and the factors that come with it, and provide composed attention without bias.

There have been many Western developments around Mindfulness, especially around mindfulness of the body, emotions and thoughts as tools to reduce stress, increase self-awareness and enhance emotional intelligence.

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