Mindfulness (full attention) is a particular way of paying attention to the present moment.
Mindfulness is the ability that we all have to be in the present moment in a balanced way, with an attitude of acceptance and openness. This ability helps us to better manage our emotions, to feel more relaxed and to know how our mind works.
LET’S KNOW A LITTLE HISTORY
Mindfulness has been translated into Spanish in different ways, all composed for lack of a word that gives the original meaning. The most common translations are Mindfulness, Mindfulness, Mindfulness, and Mindfulness/Open Awareness among others. We will use the most widely used translation at this time, which is “Full Attention” and, in most cases, directly the English word Mindfulness.
Interest in this practice has grown significantly in recent years in various areas of our society such as companies, schools, hospitals, universities, etc.
Mindfulness can also be understood as a personality trait, that is, there are people who are “attentive” by nature. This trait has been found to be associated with greater psychological well-being and less willingness to suffer from certain psychological disorders, as well as better concentration and overall performance.
On the other hand, mindfulness is also a state, where we can cultivate attention, well-being, and balance through certain practices and exercises.
WHAT CAN MINDFULNESS HELP YOU WITH?
Mindfulness is the means by which we can live a more conscious life, not only for our own benefit, but also for those around us and for the whole world.
It can help us manage our negative emotions and thoughts, as well as exercise our ability to be in the present moment. Mindfulness practice can also be a powerful resource for maintaining and developing new levels of well-being and positively affecting the ability to make decisions from a place of clarity and compassion.
One of the great advantages of mindfulness is that anyone, regardless of their living conditions, can learn to practice and obtain benefits in relatively short periods of time.
There is plenty of research, suggesting a number of health and wellness benefits, including:
Improvements in immune system function Increased creativity and decision-making ability
Greater empathy and compassion Increases in positive emotions and decreases in negative ones
Changes in the structure and function of the brain
5 EXERCISES TO START IN MINDFULNESS
1. DEEP BREATHS
One of the most used forms of relaxation techniques, including mindfulness, is based on bringing attention to the breath.
Breathing is a cyclical act that is in a constant flux, it keeps us alive and connected to the present at all times, in an unequivocal union of our body with the air that surrounds us.
Air is also a changing element, we breathe a different air each time. In addition, it is something we count on at all times.
2. WATCH YOUR THINKING
Eastern meditation aims to quiet the mind, stopping all kinds of thoughts.
However, in our current society, this goal is too unattainable at first, so mindfulness tries to play with attention, focusing it on something specific and thus slowing down the fluctuation of thoughts and dispersion.
For example, you can perform the previous breathing exercise and in that case the element you will focus on to leave others aside will be your own breathing.
3. IDENTIFY YOUR EMOTIONS
Surely not only thoughts will disperse your attention, since in most cases these are accompanied by emotions.
In our day to day we are exposed to a large number of events that cause us emotional reactions, and most of us carry a heavy backpack of emotions that, to a large extent, we have managed to repress and mask to make it easier for us to continue with our lives.
We look for distractions or keeping busy so we don’t have time to think about them. It is for this reason that, the moment we are left alone, in silence, and let our guard down, those accumulated emotions can spontaneously reappear and remind us that they are still there alive.
4. USE VISUALIZATION
The mental world is too abstract and, used to the world of more sensory stimuli, we can often get lost. Using visualization techniques will facilitate mental control in order to generate a state of relaxation and to better manage the thoughts and emotions that arise.
In our mind we have a very broad record of sensations linked to certain images, objects, textures, colors, etc. Just thinking about something activates the brain areas related to your act, so thinking about activities or places, for example, that arouse pleasant and calm feelings in us, will help us bring those feelings to the present.
5. BECOME AWARE OF YOUR BODY
Often our emotions hide behind our bodies in the form of bodily sensations.
Our body is still a kind of container that contains everything, and sometimes we don’t even know what is happening to us because our mind (that organ that seems to act independently and that we strive to control) hides certain things so that they do not upset us , but they become muscle tension, skin problems, digestive problems, etc.
Therefore, when you practice mindfulness, pay close attention to your body. Observe all of you, as a kind of machinery with extremely complex and intelligent protection strategies that, nevertheless, you try to understand to help you in the task that these automatic mechanisms try to accomplish.