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Appreciating the present

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https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/jan/28/enjoy-living-present-moment

theguardian.com

Appreciating the present
There's a one-in-two chance your mind is on something else as you read this sentence. A study by Harvard psychologists in 2010 asked people to track their thoughts, feelings and activities at random intervals, and discovered that they spend 46.9% of their time doing one thing while thinking about another.

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Our wandering minds

We spend almost half of our time doing one thing while thinking about another.

Daydreaming makes us more unhappy than if we were paying attention to the present moment, even when it's...

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Dealing with difficult experiences

Distracting ourselves from difficult experiences seems to exacerbate rather than reduce, the stress they cause.

When the mind wanders, it's usually drawn into negative ruminations or ...

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Cultivating awareness

By noticing what's happening with gentle curiosity, we start to work constructively with the events of our lives.

Gently bringing our minds back to the present can help us let go of th...

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Mindfulness training

It's the art of paying attention and there's strong evidence that it helps us in a range of ways: managing low mood, anxiety, and pain to enhancing creativity, choice and compassio...

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Being present in the moment

  • Pay attention to your breathing. Find a quiet space and concentrate on the flow of your breath, in and out. 
  • Bring awareness to sensations of touch.  Consciousl...

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William James

"The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will."

William James

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Mindlessness

Mindlessness, or going on autopilot, can result in missing the good things in life or ignoring important information about relationships or health.

The antidote is to practice to pay more car...

Tips to practice Mindfulness

  • Allow your mind to wander and gently return awareness to your breath sensation.
  • Notice any tendency to be hard on yourself. See this kind of judgment and gently return awareness to your breath.
  • Embrace relaxation and being present with awareness.
  • Expect to notice more things, including more painful things.
  • Practice staying present. Stay open to all the possibilities in each situation.
  • Be careful not to try too hard. Experience life directly as it unfolds, paying careful and open-hearted attention.
  • When starting a new activity

    Start a meeting with 2 minutes of silence, your attention focussed on your breath. Or take a few mindful breaths before starting your exercise routine.

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    What mindfulness is

    What mindfulness is

    Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

    What meditation is

    Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

    Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn

    Jon Kabat-Zinn

    “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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    Use of mindfulness

    Mindfulness can be used as a preventative treatment for depression.

    The idea is that you actively pay attention to the moment, without judging. It helps the mind to revisit thoughts about...

    Mindfulness as an effective treatment

    There is clinical evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a way to prevent depression and anxiety.

    Mindfulness may be good for other psychiatric conditions including bipolar disorder.

    There is also growing evidence that mindfulness is effective for chronic long-term health conditions.

    Mindfulness can be overstated

    Mindfulness is not a cure all. With all the hype around mindfulness it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the information is quality-controlled and reliable. We need  to be careful not to overstate it's usefulness.