Appreciating the present
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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.
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.
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.
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.
"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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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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It’s about paying attention to the present moment with awareness and without emotional reactivity.
It can be broken down into two major categories:
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.
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.
“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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