What is Mindfulness Psychology?
You’ve heard a lot about mindfulness. Maybe you even tried to practice mindfulness or read about its role in managing daily stress. You are not alone in a search of mindfulness in the extremely fast-paced world when we forgot to check in with ourselves.
If you have dipped your toes in mindfulness and positive psychology, you are likely on your way to find life-changing moments on your new journey of self-discovery.
Mindfulness is a topic that has become popular in the modern Western world in the past few decades. We can say that the term mindfulness is already mainstream, but the feeling of mindfulness and the term has been around for a long time.
Benefits of Mindfulness
There’s been a wealth of research on this age-old practice and there are many benefits proven by researchers.
Several studies showed that mindfulness can reduce rumination and overthinking that doesn’t serve you.
Many studies showed that practicing mindfulness can reduce the level of stress. Mindfulness is useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underline many issues such as stressful situations, depression, and anxieties. Mindfulness increases positive affects and decreases negative ones. Those who practice mindfulness have an ability to use emotional regulation strategy in a way that enables them to experience emotion selectively and that emotions can be experienced differently in the brain while being in the same stressful situations.
It’s important to remember that mindfulness will not remove stressful situations, but it will remove the negative way we react to those situations. It’s safe to say that the number of stressful situations can be reduced when you are mindful. You might not for example start the argument that you usually would, or you would not start the stressful situations, or you would remove yourself on time from stressful situations caused by others.
The benefits of mindfulness are many. Those who practice mindfulness have a better working memory, better focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, and higher relationship satisfaction.
Examples of Mindfulness
This all sounds interesting but how can you apply it to your daily life. Do you need to meditate? Where do you start?
The creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabbat-Zinn defined mindfulness:
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness is all about being aware of what’s going on both inside and outside of your body. It means not being on autopilot where you go through motions without a clear connection to what you are doing and feeling at that moment. If you are practicing all of this at the moment, there is your perfect example of mindfulness, but we lose it easily.
If you want to embrace mindfulness you should start by deciding to be mindful. It might seem obvious, but the intention is everything. It’s important to make a commitment to be more mindful of what’s going on around you and inside you. It’s hard to stay in that mood but you have to be able to shift your awareness every time you find your mind wondering.
One technique that you can easily use is the technique of waiting. We all hate to wait but we spend a considerable amount of time waiting. We are waiting for a train, in an elevator, or in a line at the store. Use those moments to tune in. You can breathe deeply, look around you, or simply check how you feel at that moment.
Listen when people talk. How often you find yourself distracted when someone else is talking. Listening is a great asset to mindfulness. When you are in conversation, pay attention to what’s being said, ask questions, and gain insight into what’s being said. Notice the senses around you whether it’s delicious food, the smell of essential oils, loving touch, and sound of noise outside. If you are not sure where to start, feel your own breath and heartbeat.
Nature is the best inspiration for mindfulness. Going on a hike and watching a sunset can help you tune in, but you don’t need an amazing sight in front of you to get in touch with yourself. Look around, trees swaying in the breeze, the change of seasons, take a deep breath, take a walk, and be mindful.