People often ask me about Mindfulness. They are curios and want to know more. I teach classes on Mindfulness and love sharing what I have learned. So what is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is holding our ATTENTION in the HERE and NOW. It is Fully experiencing every situation, every interaction - every moment in life. When we are mindful, we are at peace. When we are mindful, we are more joyful, more creative, more confident, & more connected with others. Mindfulness helps us enjoy life fully as it emerges.
The opposite of being mindful is being lost in our thoughts of the past or the future. This is something that goes on all day, every day for most people. Sometimes we are so lost in our thoughts about the past or our worries of the potential future, that we miss out on what is happening right in front of us. Being lost in our thoughts causes us a lot of stress, discomfort, and suffering. The mind can be and IS a very powerful tool, but it can be very difficult to keep it under control. In most cases, thoughts are driving us, rather than the other way around.
The definition of Mindfulness is Keeping one’s complete attention to your experience on a moment-to-moment basis in an open and non-judgmental way.
What does that mean? What is an example of mindfulness? Well, it can really be a part anything that you do: eating, exercising, going for a walk, creating art, planting in your garden, brushing your teeth, reading, riding your bike, having fun with your friends or family. Really anything that you experience in your life. Where Mindfulness comes into it - is when you are giving that experience your full attention.
So for example - while brushing your teeth. Most of us go on autopilot while brushing our teeth. If it is morning and we are brushing our teeth, we might be thinking about what we have planned for the day OR maybe we are thinking “I wish I was still in bed sleeping”. Or if it is night, we might be going over in our minds what happened that day.
Next time you go the bathroom to brush your teeth, instead of being lost in thought the whole time, gently bring your attention to your body and what you are experiencing. What can you see? What can you hear? What’s the color of the toothpaste? The smell? What flavor is it? You don’t need to think too much, it’s more a case of being present to notice all these things.
Next, gently focus your attention on the sensations. Be mindful of your arm moving from side-to-side and up-&-down and the sound of the toothbrush against your teeth. Feel the bristles against your gums, and against your teeth.
At first glance this might sound a bit silly, but brushing your teeth is an especially good activity for practicing mindfulness, precisely because it’s so repetitive. It offers a very defined framework within which to focus.
Our minds seem to be set up to go into autopilot for those actions that we repeat over and over. The practice of bringing our attention back to things anew, as though every time is the first time doing it, is a very useful mindfulness activity. And Mindfulness needs to be practiced (just like anything else you wish to learn).
Another way to practice mindfulness is by doing a body scan. I have a recording of a guided bodyscan on my website at: : https://www.lisaannmueller.com/free-stuff
Try it out!