About Mindfulness

Why mindfulness?

Many of us experience stress and that makes us suffer. Stress is a pervasive issue in modern society and has become a global public health problem. Continuous stress may lead to unproductive rumination that consumes energy and reinforces the experience of stress itself. Additionally, exaggerated stress can challenge resilience aspects such as hope and the capacity to forgive.  Although certain levels of stress may result in improved functioning, there is evidence that a great deal of stress can negatively affect both physical and mental health. Stress has been linked to autoimmune disease, migraines, obesity, muscle tension, backache, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and other quality of life issues that affect humans. Mindfulness seeks to change our relationship with stressful thoughts and events, by decreasing emotional reactivity and enhancing cognitive appraisal.

What is mindfulness and can it help?

Mindfulness is defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of MBSR, as a moment-to-moment awareness and is cultivated by purposefully paying attention to the present moment, with a nonjudging, non-striving attitude. Since the creation of the 8-week MBSR course by Jon Kabat Zinn, there is now abundant scientific evidence of the effectiveness of the practice.

In general, the mindfulness practice with MBSR has shown to decrease stress, enhance the ability to deal with illness, facilitate recovery, decrease depressive symptoms and in general improve one’s health. More specifically, it can improve the higher brain functions, increase immunity as well as lowering blood pressure and heart rate. It can also raise awareness, attention and focus, clarity of thinking as well as lowering anxiety levels and contribute to calmness whilst heightening a feeling of connectedness.  There is now a whole community of practitioners of mindfulness to which one connect and experience the benefits together.

 …in other words

“Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present, and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car, or take our morning shower.”

The Thichnhathanh Foundation

Exploring mindfulness safely

Mindfulness can be suitable for anyone, but not for everyone in the same way. While the practice of meditation is ancient, and encountered in various forms in all traditional cultures, our knowledge about it is still limited. The meditative techniques have been validated by generations of practitioners, which is reassuring. However the difficulties in harnessing the mind are also a known fact, and masters used to guide their disciples with care through the process.

Together with the development of psychology as a science a more in-depth understanding of how our minds work led to the re-actualization of meditative practices, and made them accessible to a broad audience. Clinical studies and various research already shows the undoubtable efficacy of meditation practice. With each new study more understanding about the mind’s maze emerges, with its lights but also shadows. More recently practitioners have looked into some of the effects of the meditative practices that raise warning signs. This is one of the reasons why would always recommend to start your exploration journey of mindfulness with a well-trained teacher who can offer the necessary support in situations where you might have doubts about the practice or when difficult emotions come up. An experienced teacher and the group setting of a mindfulness course are invaluable elements that will allow you to take the deep dive into this transformative practice with much more ease and comfort. 

Mindfulness during pandemic times

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered our ways of living more than any other crisis in recent history. Plans for the future shattered, any sense of control lost, leaving many of us in a down-circling spiral of fears, incertitude, loss of hope, with our thoughts running in circles and increasing the feeling of being trapped. How do we go through this with the least damage? How can we best cope with anxiety, loss and isolation? How do we move on? Studies showed how mindfulness practice can help keep our thoughts tamed, and keeping a short leash on our stress reactivity and taking us out of the panic zone and doom thinking. We may have little control of events, especially these days, but we can undoubtedly have a choice of how we want to respond to whatever comes in these challenging times. Practicing mindfulness and meditation in any situation, taking a moment to pause, whether routine or occasionally, can help keep our thoughts tamed. In times of uncertainty and stress, meditation helps us quiet the mind, gives us the tools to better cope with the waves of emotions that arise in us, teaches us how to let go of what keeps us contracted and tense and releases our inner resources. As we become calmer and accepting, we help and inspire others to become calmer and contemplate the situation with open eyes and an open mind. Finally, facing our reality unconstrained by our own fears and recognizing and accepting our common reality, we can explore new ways (outside the box), to identify new opportunities, and become open to embrace new growth paths and find meaning in both our response and what we may offer to others.

 

Mindful insights

Sharing how the mindfulness practice impacts our lives can be powerful and inspirational. This is why we created this space in which you can read such stories. And if you would like to share also your own experience, send us your stories, to help others have real-life insights. 

MINDFULNESS AND FOBIAS

This is the story of overcoming fobia of spiders through a mindful insight. 

Read the full story here…

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