Mindfulness Challenge Week 1: Defining Mindfulness

Defining Mindfulness:

Diet and exercise are pretty easy to understand when it comes to our health. We don’t question the need to improve upon those. But when someone mentions working on your mental/emotional health, we often feel that this is not an important part to work on. However, if we ignore this part of your health for too long, the other areas of our health will also suffer.

So what is mindfulness? It means the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious. So in short: 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.

While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, ones we will work on and build upon throughout the challenge. Still not convinced? Here are some items on mindfulness you may not have realized.

Things to Know About Mindfulness:

  1. Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.
  2. Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in
  3. You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.
  4. Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn.
  5. It’s a way of living.  Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better.
  6. It’s evidence-based. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
  7. It sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective responses to our problems.

Weekly Challenge:

Mind Your Mindfulness: Introducing Mindfulness Challenge

Why It’s Important: We need to begin to understand how mindfulness works and how it can be as simple or as intricate as we want it to be. However, we are going to start simple!

Your Challenge: Take FIVE minutes to do this meditation exercise. While all mindfulness isn’t about meditation, learning the art of clearing your mind and allowing your body to relax is an important one and this is a very simple way to start. Visit here and then click on the play button to be led through the exercise. Be sure to be in a relaxing place without interruptions.

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