Meditation and Mindfulness, both of these topics are passions of mine and have been for a number of years. I often refer to Mindfulness as a form of Meditation.
To me Mindfulness is being present, in the moment regardless of what you are doing whether walking, making a coffee or having a shower or catching up with someone. Have you ever been with someone and all they do is check their phone? They are not being mindful of you, they are not present with you they are present and mindful with their phone.
Mindfulness is something you can do throughout the day anytime, anywhere and is a form of meditation.
Whereas Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus in order to increase awareness of the present moment and Mindfulness is one of the methods that you can use to achieve a meditative state.
Science has proven time and time again that meditation enables you to deal with stress, cope with difficult situations and generally be happier and calmer in life.
One of the most recent studies on Mindfulness, conducted by Ellen Langer of Harvard University, over an eight week period. Showed that the reason why people who meditate cope with things better is that their hippocampus and cerebellum grow, this phenomenon was observed within eight weeks of commencing a practice.
When you are wanting to become more mindful, one of the techniques that is useful is the STOP method, you can do this anytime throughout your day (when to do so safe eg not when driving).
- S – stop whatever you are doing
- T – take a breath and reconnect to the body
- O – observe what is happening in your body with curiosity, what are you thinking, feeling, what can you hear and see
- P – proceed with what you were doing
If you do not like to use the word STOP then why not use the word RAIN, it is a Buddhist practice and a similar concept.
- R – recognise what is going on
- A – accept what is happening, don’t fight it
- I – investigate the physical sensations, thoughts and feelings
- N – non identification, realise that you are more than this single experience / feeling
The goal with most meditation is to set aside time each day to practice. Whereas with mindfulness the goal is to fully embrace the concept and be more mindful throughout your entire day, regardless of where you are and what you are doing. It is more a way of life.
My three favourite tips for mindfulness are:
- Don’t believe everything you think, because you know that most of it is not true.
- Become friends with the observer in your mind – understand what it is showing you, is it past or present, true or false – thank it and move on.
- Ditch the Story – don’t make one bad event into the story of your life.
I hope if you have not practised Mindfulness that the simple techniques outlined above inspire you to do so. One of the many benefits of Mindfulness is that it enables us to take back control of our choices, rather than blindly going through life doing what we have always done.
I would love to hear how you are progressing.