Mindful Mondays: Introduction to Mindfulness
Have you ever looked at your watch to check the time, only to look away and have no recollection of what the time is? Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you went there? If you answered yes to these questions, you know what it is to be ‘unmindful’. Being unmindful causes us to miss out on important information, increasing our risk of physical and social accidents and communicating at a more superficial level. Importantly, it makes us vulnerable to stress, poor mental health and all of the harmful physical consequences that follow.
Described simply, mindfulness is living in the now. It is essentially being more present and aware in every moment of your life. Mindfulness has wide-reaching benefits and powerfully practical applications, including:
- Mental Health: depression-relapse prevention, anxiety, stress, enhancing emotional intelligence, improvements in sleep, personality disorders and addiction.
- Clinical: pain management, symptom control, coping with illnesses, metabolic benefits, hormonal changes and changes in genetic function and repair.
- Performance: sport, academic, leadership.
- Spiritual: deep peace, insight, oneness.
Mindfulness is the ability to be present and aware of what is actually happening to you by not allowing your attention to drift off to what happened to you yesterday or might happen to you tomorrow.
Over time we will delve a little deeper into the history, benefits and practical applications of mindfulness. Today, let’s focus on practising mindfulness in the shower.
Be mindful to set the temperature before you step in the shower Be mindful of the wave of pleasure as the warm water washes over you; Be mindful of the smell of the shower gel, soap or shampoo, and the sensation your hands passing over your skin; be mindful of thoughts cropping up and gentle refocus yourself; and mindful of the noise of the water coming to a halt.
- McKenzie, S. & Hassed, C., Mindfulness for Life, Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd, Auckland, 2012.
- Killingsworth, M.A., Gilbert, D.T., ‘A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind’, Science, 12 November 2010, Vol. 330, no. 6006, p. 932, DOI: 10.1126/1192439
- Headspace Inc. 2016, ‘Get some Headspace’, https://www.headspace.com/, viewed April 2016.