Benefits of Mindfulness
We spoke about Mindfulness and what it is. If you didn’t get a chance to read the post you can have a look here . In essence we said that Mindfulness put simply means paying attention. It is when you intentionally pay attention to each moment, being fully engaged in whatever is happening around you and within you.
Let’s look at five amazing benefits of mindfulness (being mindful).
Fully experience life – Appreciation
Imagine spending time with your child, good friend, or your spouse and not really
paying attention to them when they’re talking to you. You’re not being a good parent, spouse or friend — but if you could turn your attention to them, and give them the gift of your attention, you’d be improving the relationship. You’d also be able to better appreciate the person in front of you, by fully noticing them and appreciating all they have to give.
Awareness as a tool for changing habits
Changing old unhealthy eating habits, or starting a running habit, or waking
up early is often difficult because we succumb to the urge of eating that chocolate or not waking up early to go for our run and we rationalize this in our heads. Rationalization and urges get in the way of all habit change, but we often don’t even realize it’s going on.
Using awareness as a mindful practice allows you to start recognising when these unhealthy urges happen. If you were to count and make a note of the amount of times during the day that you craved some fast food, or a chocolate bar, this would subconsciously teach you awareness of your normally unseen urges. Once you have that awareness, you are then able to see that urge rise and fade away, without needing to act on it immediately. You start listing to the rationalizations ( why you need to eat a chocolate now) and you realise these are lies we tell ourselves. We lie to ourselves all the time about things we “need” to make ourselves feel good, ( smoking, drinking, binge eating), but only until we become aware of how we rationalize these things and behaviours to ourselves, can we only then use mindful awareness to change habits.
Learning to love yourself
Another thing that gets in the way of habit change for many people is
self-dissatisfaction. We often don’t like our bodies, or feel guilty about our many failures. And this results in trying to comfort these bad feelings with over eating, shopping, distractions, smoking, drinking, drugs. We can try to change our habits, but unless we address this core problem we’ll probably struggle. And the truth is for many, it starts with the NOT loving yourself.
Mindfulness helps us to see this dissatisfaction about ourselves. It takes time to change this feeling of dissatisfaction, but it’s not possible without mindfulness and being mindful and honest with ourselves.
Dealing calmly with frustration – Letting go
Frustration is a source of stress and unhappiness and relationship
problems for pretty much everyone. No one is immune. But mindfulness
can help. If you have frustration coming up, instead of just acting on it mindlessly,
you can watch it rising in you. Just notice it, see it happening, feel how it
feels in your body. Then look for the expectations at the source of the
frustration, and practice letting go of the expectation. If you can get
good at doing this, frustrations will still come, but they go more easily.
You’ll hold onto the frustrations less.
Becoming kinder -Compassion
When we deal with other people, we often judge them for what they do
— for smoking, or being unhealthy, or being vegan, or being poor, or
being rich, or being superficial, or being a crunchy hippie, or being loud
and obnoxious, or being shy and timid. No matter what the other person is like, we can find a way to judge them. But mindfulness helps us to see when we’re doing that, and to see the ideal that we’re using to judge the other person.It helps us to try to see
them in a non-judgmental way. Further, it can help us try to understand
the suffering or difficulties they’re going through, instead of judging them
for not handling it well. Finding compassion isn’t something that happens instantly, but
mindfulness is the start of that journey.
The Benefits of Mindfulness go far beyond just these five. Being mindful means that don’t succumb to worrying about the past or the future – you simply live in the present moment here and now, and this state of mind enables you to take advantage of every opportunity you come across in an almost opportunistic way. Without mindfulness your vision is clouded by prejudice, judgment and expectations, so that you are not able to see the world clearly.