As I walked into my local book shop last week to purchase a good dictionary and thesaurus for my writing course I happened to see the owner exiting with Ruby Wax.
Ruby appears to be popping up on my TV screen, on the radio and now in my local bookshop. As I have said before “a coincidence is a plan in disguise”. Touring the UK to promote the release of her new book ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’. I thought I would take the time to investigate the current buzz word and fad ‘Mindfulness’ that even my friends are discussing.
So what is it all about?
“Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations”. (Bemindful.co.uk)
Once you start to dig underneath all the descriptions of Mindfulness, it appears to be a combination of meditation, organisation of the brain and general awareness.
Part 1: You need to have the ability to rationalize thoughts and feelings to determine the quality while being in a calm environment. Part 2: In order to view what is going on in the world we have to be actively present.
One of the most effective techniques, taken from Buddhism, is a meditation that simply focuses on the breath going in and out. Very similar to Kundalini Yoga which gets you to focus on the breath to calm your mind and allow the energies to follow between the 7 Chakras.
The Mindfulness goal is to make you more detached as the thoughts pass through your brain. This way you are better placed to step back and analyse if you need to pay any attention to that thought, emotion or experience. It encourages you to focus on thoughts related to the present and not thoughts associated with the past or future that make you anxious.
Scientific research is suggesting that people that practice Mindfulness, deal better with irrational thoughts, therefore reducing level of stress and anxiety. I guess we all feel stressed and confused at times and if thoughts and emotions are left unattended for a while they can turn into anxieties. After all we are all human, but is this really the solution?
I read that Mindfulness is attempting to being introduced into the business environment. I think that things are going a bit too far when employers are actively encouraging their employees to take time in their lunch hour to “be mindful” with the aim of making them more productive.
Why are we living in an environment where we cannot cope and having to take time out to reduce stress and anxiety? This is the million dollar question!
It sounds that we are better placed using our ‘time out’ to make better lifestyle choices that fit to who we are and where we want to be.
- Determine what you want to change, make a plan and take the plunge
- Eat Healthy. Healthy Body = Healthy Mind
- Avoid fake highs like caffeine, sugar or nicotine
- Get enough sleep
After all it is about changing your attitude, circumstance and perspective on items that you feel stressed about.
I am not sure how long the Mindfulness Fad is going to last. For me being aware and present is sometimes it is as easy as sitting in a cafe and watching the world go by.