Mindfulness is a skill that you can use to improve many areas of your life.
It’s being heavily researched at the moment because of the profound effects it’s having on many people who have learned, and practice it regularly.
If you’ve been feeling out of sorts lately, mindfulness practice can literally bring you back to life!
Here are just some of the life changes that have been experienced after practicing mindfulness regularly…
Physical health benefits include:
Raising energy levels; Lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol; Reducing need for painkillers for chronic pain sufferers; lessening the symptoms of autoimmune diseases; Extending and improving the quality of life in people with terminal and severe life-threatening illnesses.
Mental health benefits include:
Reducing stress; Reducing depression relapses: Reducing anxiety levels; Lessening of panic attacks; Reducing fears and phobias; Increasing happiness levels; Increasing confidence;
Relationship benefits include:
Better communication; Connecting more meaningfully with others; Becoming more attractive to others; appreciating others around you more fully.
Well-being benefits include:
Becoming happier and more content; Being more at peace with yourself and the world; Appreciating your life more; Increasing your levels of satisfaction with yourself and your life.
Workplace benefits include:
Greater concentration and focus; Improving creativity; Making better decisions, Negotiating difficult situations more effectively; Improving listening skills and comprehension of complex information; Better relationships with corkers and customers; Increased confidence and ability for peak performance.
So as you can see, “What’s in it for you” is a whole bucketful of improvements in all important life areas.
All of this has been documented in the past few decades. If a drug had been invented that could do all this, the media would have been saturated with it, and there’d be queues at the doctors for people trying to get a prescription.
The thing is – Mindfulness is not new ,and the big drug companies will never make big money out of it. This is good news for you. Firstly because it’s been tried, tested and its efficacy has stood the test of time for (thousands of!) years. Sometimes called mindful meditation or mindfulness meditation. Secondly, once you’ve learned how to do it, it’s yours to use for free for the rest of your life. (Here up north we like things for free!)
Now for the big question…
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is not what you think…
It’s a skill learned through developing the ability to notice what’s going on, right now, without judgement, and with a certain quality of kindly attention.
This description sounds a bit dry and academic (i’d go as far as to say mindfulness sounds mind numbingly dull), and It gives no clues as to why so many people have invested large chunks of their life developing the skills.
Describing a mindful state is like trying to describe swimming, or the taste of chocolate to somebody who has never encountered it. It’s not something you do with your mind; it’s something you do with your whole body too. It’s a whole integrated mind/body experience.
Knowing about mindfulness give no clues as to it’s many treasures. To really understand it you need to KNOW it, through your own experience by learning and practising the core skills.
How do you learn mindfulness?
You can learn ‘about’ mindfulness in many books. If you want to really learn how to do, it the best way is to take a structured course with a good teacher.
Learning mindfulness takes time. With a good teacher and structured training, mindfulness training has been found to take a couple of months of regular practice for a beginner to start to really ‘get’ it. This is why most mindfulness course run over 8 weeks.
It’s very much like learning to play a musical instrument or speaking a foreign language. There are remarkable similarities. For both of these you’re going to have to put in periods of practice that are repetitive and not very exciting. Also it can be a little frustrating in the early days as you learn the basics. (Anybody with a child next door who’s learning to play the violin will appreciate this predicament!). Eventually you can do it almost effortlessly and your life becomes richer as a result of mastering those basic skills over time.
It’s almost impossible to teach yourself mindfulness without an external guide to answer your questions and help you work with your unique experiences.
The best way to learn is through a teacher.
Mindfulness teachers use several formats – Regular classes run over 8 weeks; Intensive residential retreats; Personal mindfulness one-on-one tuition or coaching.
The best format for you will depend on your own personal circumstances and preferences.
The key thing to remember is – there is no ‘fast-track-short-cut’ way of gaining the benefits of mindfulness without putting in the learning and practice.
Until very recently mindfulness classes were only offered as part of religious communities. Today there are classes that cater for people who want to learn these essential skills without the need to ‘buy in’ to any particular religion or spiritual path.
Mindfulness Mavericks provides no-nonsense mindfulness and meditation training to help you gain the mindfulness skills to live a better life.
If you’d like to know more about learning mindfulness meditation here in Sheffield then please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.
If you’d like to hear about our new and user-friendly classes and workshops, then subscribe to our Mindfulness Mavericks newsletter using the button below.