Whenever the subject of mindfulness comes up it’s tempting to think: isn’t that what Buddhists do when they meditate?
Although I believe that we may all benefit from Buddhist practices not everyone is interested or ready to take that step.
For those who aren’t quite ready for Eastern philosophies, I’m happy to say I’ve discovered that mindfulness isn’t just restricted to the practice of Buddhism.
Ellen Langer, psychology professor at Harvard University, describes mindfulness as: “the ordinary everyday capacity each of us has to notice new things.”
Using this version of mindfulness helps me to experience what is happening — moment by moment — through the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste or touch.
I’ve discovered that I can begin to renew my experience of things that I’ve been taking for granted.
It also allows me to have a greater awareness of the stream of thoughts and feelings that I constantly experience; helping me to process them more effectively.
My principles to cultivate mindfulness:
- Paying attention to the minute details of any activity I undertake.
- Paying particular attention to my body and my bodily experiences.
- Paying attention to the experience of mind and not getting hijacked with memories of the past or future plans.
- Letting go of distractions and paying attention to the present moment.
- Noticing and accepting an experience without rushing to judge it.
I’ve achieved this through writing and participating in a sport or hobby, during which I can keep my attention on my own sense perceptions i.e. what I can see, hear, smell, taste or touch.