Get out of autopilot mode: Mindfulness can help you cope better with stress in everyday life. What you need to know about the gentle path to less hectic. Want to find a gentle way to leave stress and hectic behind? And be abl to enjoy more safest Canadian casino online? Would you like to feel more often that you are really present in the moment? Mindfulness can be easily incorporated into everyday life. Even small exercises have a big effect. Read here how you can do it.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Researchers from the USA have discovered that many people do not know exactly what mindfulness is all about.
Accordingly, people who supposedly practice mindfulness often assume that it is a state in which one accepts everything that happens and what one feels as much as possible.
But this falls short.
There is no single definition of mindfulness. It is found in many concepts of traditional healing and is an element of a wide variety of meditation and body practices.
Most definitions of mindfulness go back to the understanding coined by molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is considered the father of mindfulness practice in Western cultures.
It is described as: “The awareness that arises from paying attention intentionally, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the experience unfolding from moment to moment.”
Mindfulness trainers describe it this way: “Mindfulness is an attitude with which one can perceive and accept the present moment with all experiences – even the unpleasant ones – in an unbiased way.”
The benefit: A mindful attitude broadens the view for new possibilities to make conscious decisions and develop more flexible behaviors.
Three aspects in particular are important:
- focus on the present
- be intentional
- not judging
WHERE IS IT ORIGINATED?
The concept originally goes back to Buddhist philosophy. It is practiced in the Buddhist tradition for the attainment of unconditional well-being.
Building on this, Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the eight-week group training program “Stress Management through Mindfulness” – a form of Western secular meditation – in the 1970s at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In today’s programs to reduce stress, the mindfulness exercises are usually taught without elaborating on the underlying Buddhist philosophy.
WHAT CAN IT DO?
The MBSR-MBCT Association, a coalition of mindfulness teachers, describes mindfulness as a way to train the mind and consciousness.
That is, if you are mindful, you practice being mindful of your thoughts, feelings and body.
This enables you to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your interaction with the world – and to better cope with everyday life and its challenges. In a world flooded with stimuli, you will find yourself again.
The problem: Many people function as if in autopilot mode. Their thoughts are either in the future or in the past. Through meditation exercises, they can learn to be in the moment, to recognize automated patterns of action – and ultimately to break through them.
Studies show that the practice of mindfulness meditation, for example, can counteract a number of stress-related illnesses, as well as other illnesses. It can also improve well-being and quality of life.
There are many studies and meta-analyses on the effects of mindfulness practice, as well as on the effects on brain activity and structure.
Meta-analyses have shown, for example, that mindfulness meditation programs have positive effects on:
- Quality of life related to mental health
HOW TO LEARN IT
A mindful attitude does not come by itself, but needs to be trained. There are two ways to do this:
- You do mindfulness exercises such as breathing or walking meditation.
- You build mindful moments into everyday life in an uncomplicated way so that they become a habit.
Probably the best-known mindfulness training is called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
MBSR is a group program with sitting meditations, concentration and movement exercises – the very program that Jon Kabat-Zinn developed in the 1970s. Its success is considered well researched.
There are numerous providers of training. According to the MBSR Association, the program combines meditative exercises in rest and movement with approaches from modern psychology and stress research.
The group of about 8 to 15 participants meets once a week during the program for a session lasting about two and a half hours. Participants learn various exercises and practices to develop mindfulness.
These include, for example:
- Sitting meditations to train breathing and body awareness.
- Bodyscans, an exercise in which attention is systematically guided through the whole body
- mindful movement and stretching exercises
- walking meditations
The goal is to keep concentration in the present moment or return to it.
Mindfulness and MBSR are not simply synonymous with meditation. Meditation is a generic term for a range of methods. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is an attitude. There are different meditations for cultivating mindfulness, he says.
HOW DOES IT WORK IN EVERYDAY LIFE?
In a mindfulness training you will not only learn meditation practices. You will also learn what a mindful everyday life can look like. For example, everyday things such as brushing your teeth, eating or doing the dishes are suitable for this.
Mindfulness trainers explain it using the example of taking a shower. This can be a good mindfulness exercise.
Instead of already planning the whole day in your head, it’s about feeling the warm water on your skin, smelling the fragrance of the shampoo and noticing your whole body as you dry off. In this way, showering becomes a sensory experience and thus, incidentally, a beneficial mindfulness exercise. The fact that one’s attention repeatedly drifts off into memories or plans is quite natural. No need to judge yourself!
As soon as you notice the mental drift, it’s a moment of mindfulness. Then it’s a matter of returning attention “kindly and purposefully” to the sensory experience. That’s how you can train mindfulness like a muscle.
CAN IT HURT?
Mindfulness in everyday life is relatively unproblematic. Particularly for people with traumas or other psychological pre-existing stresses, meditation, as practiced in the context of mindfulness, can also have stressful effects under certain circumstances. For example, when long-forgotten wounds are uncovered through intensive self-confrontation.
In addition, it may be that some mindfulness offers awaken false ideas. Mindfulness is an attitude that makes no promises.
If someone promises that by practicing mindfulness you can live more consciously and self-determined. However mindfulness is not a panacea for all kinds of problems and all people. Practicing mindfulness is not always pleasant, but can be quite painful when you are confronted with your shadow sides. Health insurers also point out that MBSR training is not a substitute for therapy, such as may be needed for psychological stress or illness.
EXERCISES FOR YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
Morning exercise in bed: Gather yourself in bed in the morning by lolling and stretching or taking three deep breaths.
Go outside with the children: feel stones, flowers, or rain. Listen to what can be heard in nature.
Use your body as an anchor: take a conscious shower without already planning the day ahead.
Use your breath as an anchor: Take a few deep breaths before you boot up the computer.
Use waiting situations as an exercise in gathering: For example, if your child is dawdling to get dressed or you’re in a long line at the grocery store, gather yourself internally to be in the moment.
Use your commute to work to gather: Ask yourself: how exactly does it feel to walk? What beautiful things do I encounter along the way?
Meal times with the family: use the shared meals with the family and eat with all your senses and without media.
Reflect before going to sleep: What was beautiful today? What am I grateful for?