Mindfulness is the short-term for mindfulness meditation practice. To me, Mindfulness is very different to what we may think of as traditional meditation.
Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness training adapted from Buddhist mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is about being aware of what is happening in the present, moment-by-moment, without making judgments about what we notice.
Why should I practice mindfulness?
Our minds can be focused on things in the past, present or future. We often find ourselves ruminating about things that have already happened, or worrying about things that could happen. This can often be distressing. Mindfulness is a practice which encourages us to attend to the present moment. Mindfulness practise can help people cope with a wide variety of feeling-states such as depression, anxiety and hypervigelence, but also physical health conditions including pain and chronic illness.
Why do I need to practise?
Can’t I pay attention to the present moment already? We can all pay attention to the present moment, at least for a short while. If you haven’t tried meditation before though, you might notice that your attention wanders and is not easily controlled. Mindfulness strengthens our ability to pay attention in the present moment.
What does it mean to ‘cultivate a non-judgmental attitude’?
Shakespeare said “there is nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”, and this is a core idea in therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy. Making judgments about our own experiences can often lead to us becoming quite distressed. For example, thoughts like “this is horrible” and “I can’t take any more” are both judgments associated with distress. Practising mindfulness teaches us to accept more of our experience without judging it.