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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.
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.
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.
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.
"The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will."
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 careful attention to what is going on around you as well as inside of you.
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, mindfulness puts our attention towards the present moment, with kindness, empathy and interest. This continuous act of being in the present moment with interest is called ‘simple knowing’.
Research indicates our mind wanders 50 percent of our waking hours. Internal and external distractions easily disrupt our attention from the task at hand.
To gain control over our attention and keep it stable, one solution is trying mindfulness training.
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