What is mindfulness and what are its benefits?
Updated: May 20, 2020
Pay attention to what you are experiencing in this moment. This is what mindfulness is - the conscious engagement with experience, as it is happening, now. Being mindful is to stop moving forward in thought, to be consciously alive in the present moment, engaged, showing up for life, saying yes to this moment.
It’s really straightforward, but wait, give it a minute, what do you notice? Where did your mindfulness go? That’s the rub! Mindfulness is a deceptively simple idea, it’s quite easy to get it started, but it’s incredibly difficult to sustain.
Be patient though, because patience is a quality of mindfulness. Simply keep practicing.
There is a growing body of research into mindfulness which demonstrates how it reduces stress and improves concentration, appreciation, patience, and empathy, all of which are good for us. Mindfulness improves our mental and physical health, as well as our relationships and our quality of life.
This makes sense because these beneficial characteristics have a quality of mindfulness to them. Concentration is sustained attentiveness in the present moment, we appreciate the beauty of sunrise when our attention rests in the direct sensory experience, patience means to accept the way things are, empathy is a real-time felt connection to another. These qualities emerge naturally when we are more presently aware, they are qualities of our human nature, not simply personality traits.
There is something else that’s very important. Mindfulness doesn’t just make us happier and healthier. It also leads to wisdom, it can help us in our therapeutic growth and root out and resolve the causes of our suffering.