However, there are a number of ‘side effects’ that mindfulness can bring to a person’s everyday life. Here, I’ll outline 5 ‘mores’ of mindfulness, all helping you to achieve a better quality of life:
1. Mindfulness can make you more curious.
When we focus on a specific thought or emotion or sensation, we can train ourselves to ask ‘What is going on here?’ or ‘What is this trying to tell me?’ or ‘I wonder what might happen next?’ So often in life we become a slave to what we feel, both physically and emotionally. We get caught up in reacting to whatever’s happening without a second thought. And if this is a particularly stressful situation, it can lead to a negative spiralling out of control.
Just taking a moment or two to step aside, almost as if looking in on the situation from the outside, being curious about things, opens up the possibility of new potential outcomes that perhaps had never even crossed your mind before.
2. Mindfulness can make you more grateful.
Mindfulness often encourages us to focus on the small, subtle details of life, those that we might ordinarily be completely unaware of. We can focus on the intricacies of a flower petal, all the subtle aromas concealed within a cup of coffee, a warm relaxed sensation in our hands, a gentle sleepiness behind our eyes, or the thought of the smile of a loved one. When we spend a little time doing this, seeing things as though for the first time, we’re less likely to take things for granted and more likely to experience the beauty in the everyday.
3. Mindfulness can make you more accepting.
Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness is not about living a wonderfully relaxed way of life with no upsets and a clear mind. Instead, it is about coming to terms with the fact that life happens – and some of it’s good and some of it’s rubbish, but it’s all part of being human and being alive in this very moment. No-one has a perfect life where everything is hunky-dory. Everyone experiences sadness, happiness, stress, relaxation, guilt, anger, joy and love. Noticing that all of these things ebb and flow over time, increasing and decreasing in intensity, makes it a little easier to accept things when they happen.
4. Mindfulness can make you more compassionate.
We’re all in this together. We’re all trying to do the best we can. We can all love others and be loved ourselves. We can all upset others and be upset ourselves. We can all help and be helped, laugh and make laugh, hurt and be hurt, judge and be judged.
When someone crosses us, we automatically go on the defence. And sometimes the way we defend ourselves is to attack back, whether it be through an unkind word or a thoughtless action. Noticing when we might react like this and asking whether it’s really the best thing to do helps us to see things differently. As a result, we might even start to see things from the other’s point of view, beginning to understand why someone said or did something, feeling empathy towards them.
We are also much more able to understand how everybody, every animal, every plant, every thing in the world is doing the best they know how to be whoever or whatever they are, and that that’s ok. We all have our place in the world.
5. Mindfulness can make you more at ease.
Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment and noticing what’s going on right at that very moment, whether it be in our thoughts, emotions, our breathing, our senses or our physical sensations. Becoming more of an observer of these things instead of automatically reacting with them, to be curious about what’s going on instead of automatically jumping to conclusions, and to be more compassionate towards ourselves as well as others, can help us to become more at ease.
As I said before, mindfulness does not make the bad stuff in life disappear, and nor should it. It just helps us to become more of a yacht cutting through the waves rather than a dinghy being tossed around by them.
If you’d like more information about the benefits of mindfulness and how it works please visit my website at www.rmbhypnotherapy.com
If you’d like to experience mindfulness for yourself, please feel free to book in to one of our weekly group sessions (Wednesdays 7.15-8.15) at Central England Holistic Therapy Centre, Alcester Road, Kings Heath. Call 0121 444 1110 to book your place or visit www.blueskymind.org.uk