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Appreciating the present

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 unpleasant.

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Appreciating the present

Appreciating the present

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

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

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 unpleasant.

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 projection, making us feel worse than if we simply focused on our actual experience.

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 these unhelpful interpretations and see situations for what they are, rather than getting pulled into angry, fearful or depressing thoughts about them. 

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 compassion.

Mindfulness isn't a quick fix – like any skill, it requires commitment and practice.

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.  Consciously feeling your feet on the floor, your bottom on a chair or your clothes against your skin can bring your mind back too.
  • Watch your speed. Three times a day, for one minute, simply stop what you're doing and notice what's happening in your mind and body. 

William James

William James

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

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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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    Mindfulness and simple knowing
    Mindfulness and simple knowing

    Mindfulness is the act of being aware of our present experience in real-time.

    Normally people start processing inside their minds what they experience, creating perceptions. At its core, ...

    One Medicine Many Cures

    Mindfulness can be practised to:

    1. Manage pain, anxiety, stress, or mood swings.
    2. Provide the body and mind an oasis of calm in between a hectic lifestyle
    3. Reduce suffering, distress and trauma caused by pain and depression, along with the negative emotions that come with life-threatening diseases.
    The Space Inside Us

    Mindfulness opens up a space inside our minds that helps us respond to outside situations with ease, instead of just reacting impulsively.

    We become aware and are able to detect our default setting, which is our ‘driven-doing mind’, and catch hold of it before any impulsive reaction is acted upon. It also helps us arrest our cycle of negative thoughts.

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