Mindfulness might sound a bit clichéd, but it goes right to the heart of what we mean by wellbeing. People who can filter out the noise and enjoy being in their own company are often the happiest and most satisfied with their lives. They’re able to focus on their conscious experience and escape some of the harmful behaviours many of us find ourselves indulging in daily.
Mindfulness is important because it is the primary determinant of our emotional experience. If we can somehow make peace with ourselves, we’ve won half the battle. Yes – things will still go wrong from time to time, and we will have negative emotions. But they won’t be so chronic and afflict us day and night when we’re trying to get to sleep.
When you study mindfulness and put it into practice in your life, you learn all sorts of valuable lessons. Here are just a smattering of what you’ll discover:
Mindfulness Is All About Mental Minimalism
When somebody mentions the term “minimalism,” sparse interiors is the first thing that comes to mind. But that’s not the essence of the movement – just an interpretation of it. At the core of what it means to be a minimalist is having an empty mind.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t learn new things or have novel experiences. Instead, it just means that you keep the voices in your head quiet for most of the time. You don’t want intrusive inner voices cluttering your conscious experience. Mostly, they add nothing of value. You would prefer to live in the present and take each moment as it comes.
You Are What You Regularly Do
We tend to believe that we are what we think. But when you study mindfulness, you come to the opposite conclusion: we are what we habitually do.
This conclusion sounds a little strange to the untrained ear. But it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Attention is an important skill. When you study mindfulness, you necessarily improve your powers of concentration. And that, in turn, allows you to live with purpose.
Living with purpose means doing something valuable. The more you do it, the more proficient you become.
Mindfulness Allows You To Split Stimulus From Response
We tend to live our lives, responding to stimuli in our environments. Somebody hands us a piece of cake, and we eat it. Or somebody shouts at us, and we react angrily in turn.
This sort of experience seems normal to most people. But for the mindfulness practitioner, it’s not. They always try to drive a wedge between stimulus and response, returning power to the individual. You don’t want to feel like a slave to your impulses. You’d rather have agency. That’s what mindfulness gives you.
Mindfulness Shows You New Types Of Beauty
Because we live our lives at such a frenetic pace, the beauty of things in the world can pass you by. We rarely pause to take in the little details in the world – and that’s a tragedy for our wellbeing. Experiences like that help to ground us and keep us thinking sensibly and humble about our environment.
Mindfulness Teaches You Patience
Patience is vital for a happy and successful life. Nothing is easy. Everything worthwhile takes time to master. Yet often we want stuff right now, and we’re not prepared to wait for it.
Mindfulness teaches patience. It points out that wanting stuff immediately is just another desire you need to tame. It causes unnecessary suffering – something that you’d ideally like to avoid.
Mindfulness Is Sometimes A Struggle
The process of achieving mindfulness itself can sometimes feel like a struggle. Like any other skills, it takes practice to get it right. What’s more, you have good days and bad days – and you rarely know which you’re going to get.
Mindfulness Allows You To Know Yourself
Part of achieving wellness is getting a better sense of who you are, what you like and your impulses. We spend so much of our lives only feeling the things we think we’re allowed to feel that we never really peel back the curtain and find out who we are.
Some people go their entire lives without ever having an honest internal conversation about what they want. There are so many other voices clouding their thoughts; their authentic self never gets a chance to shine through.
Mindfulness cuts through this. It forces the practitioner to carefully consider the difference between their thoughts and the inculcations of others.
Mindfulness Helps To Reduce Anxiety And Pain
When you buy CBD oil, you’re essentially purchasing something that targets the pain centres of the brain. The same goes for meditation. You’re attempting to shut down the amygdala – the ancient stress centre – and deactivate it.
When you do enough meditation, this can start to happen. You shut down this annoying, outdated mechanism, allowing you to feel more relaxed in your regular life.
Mindfulness Is Attention Training
The word “meditation” sounds quite mystical and spiritual – and for some people it is. But psychologists believe people would be better thinking of it as “attention training.” In other words, you’re trying to prevent your mind from thinking about other things and instead just focusing on the nature of existence. If you’ve never done it before, it can be a real challenge. But once you get good at it, it almost comes naturally, and you start looking forward to it.
You Can Lose The Ability To Practice Mindfulness
According to most practitioners, it takes about a week of daily meditation to get back into it properly after taking a break. Thus, where possible, you want to stick with it and make it a part of your daily ritual. In that sense, it’s very much like any other skill.
Mindfulness Teaches You About Your Inner Voice
Finally, mindfulness allows you to listen to your inner voice – sometimes called an “inner critic.” For some, this voice is gentle and pleasant. For others, it is a ruthless master.