Getting started with Mindfulness

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What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Basics of Mindfulness Practice

• You don’t need special equipment, but you do need to set aside some time and space.
• Observe the present moment as it is.
• Let your judgments roll by.
• Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought.
• Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up.

A Simple Meditation Practice

• Sit comfortably.
• Notice what your legs and arms are doing.
• Straighten your upper body—but don’t stiffen.
• Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. It’s not necessary to close your eyes.
• Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing.
• Notice when your mind wanders from your breath.
• Be kind about your wandering mind. Practice observing them without reacting.
• When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze. Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment.

Reasons to practice mindfulness

• Understand your pain.Mindfulness can help you reshape your relationship with mental and physical pain.
• Connect better. Mindfulness helps you give your full attention to people you interact with.
• Lower stress.
• Focus your mind. Meditation hones our innate ability to focus.
• Reduce brain chatter, that nattering, chattering voice in our head seems never to leave us alone.

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