What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental state where you come to recognise the present

moment non-judgmentally and accept it for everything that it is.

Maybe you're already familiar with the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or if anyone practices yoga, goes long distance running, rock climbing, gardening anything that you can lose yourself in the moment of and then bring yourself to be aware of the self in that moment, would know this feeling.

The idea is that you focus on now, to the present moment and then calmly acknowledge and accept your external and internal feelings and thoughts, “consciousness, and the environment, while encouraging openness, curiosity, and acceptance” (Bishop et al., 2004; Kabat-Zinn, 2003; Melbourne Academic Mindfulness Interest Group, 2006). It is used as a therapeutic technique because by getting to that state of mind, you learn so much about yourself and can really find all of the solutions to any problems or difficulties that you’re having.

Why is it important?

According to a study by Stefan G. Hofmann, titled “The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Therapy on Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review” if anyone is interested, showed results that suggested that mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems. The basic premise underlying mindfulness practices is that experiencing the present moment non-judgmentally and openly can effectively counter the effects of stress. The reason behind this is that with mindfulness you can essentially rewire your brain (which is something I will talk about in more detail later), so you can rewire your brain to start enjoying every aspect of the present moment, instead of focusing excessively on the past or the future, fears or worries, as excessively thinking about these time frames, is highly related to feelings of depression and anxiety according to another study done by Kabat-Zinn in 2003.

It is also believed that, by teaching people to respond to stressful situations more reflectively rather than reflexively, mindfulness can effectively counter experiential avoidance strategies, which is basically when people suppress unwanted internal experiences, like emotions, thoughts or memories (Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda, Lillis, 2006) as a coping mechanism which tends to be what leads to depression and anxiety (Bishop et al., 2004; Hayes, 2004).

Mindfulness has helped me, personally, to a great extent. It clearly comes hand-in-hand with the delicate topic of mental health and it is so important to talk openly about this. By talking more about it all, we are starting to normalise the discussion so that if anyone does need to pull down their own wall of silence to open up the conversation for themselves or even for other people, they will have less fear to do so seeing that there should be no judgement. Talking about this subject openly allows us to rationalise it and understand it better.

By practising mindfulness (fast track methods on how to practice mindfulness will be in the following posts), you’ll learn how to utilise it in the best way for you and you can show others how to do the same, just by your own practice being contagious, by being happier, raising everyone else’s vibration.

So let’s talk ‘happiness’. What is happiness?