Mindfulness: what is it and why should it matter to you?

Mindfulness: what is it and why should it matter to you?

In order to fully comprehend everything you are about to learn from this site, you need to have a working knowledge of a few key topics. One of those is mindfulness. So, let’s look at what it is and why it is important to you in your life.

Mindfulness is defined in the dictionary as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” However, we are more interested in a different definition:

A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Why are we more interested in this? Because it can be easy to rush through life without noticing life.

Your mental wellbeing can be improved by paying more attention to what is happening in the here and now – to your own thoughts and feelings and all that is happening in the world around you. By paying attention to these things we can enjoy life more. It will also allow us to understand ourselves better.

Mindfulness: what is it and why should it matter to you?

Personally, I have benefitted from practising mindfulness in a number of ways. Almost all of my social interactions, whether these are direct or indirect, are more considered than before I began to practise. Thinking before I speak, something people are often keen to tell you to do, really is a virtue unto itself. Whilst I have not perfected this virtue, I have made great strides. Further, mindfulness has allowed me to care less about what other people think of me and worry less about the outcomes of things I have no control over.

Sounds good, right?

Mindfulness: what is it and why should it matter to you?

6 Reasons why it is time for you to start practising mindfulness:

  1. Stress reduction. Backed up by a plethora of scientific studies, practising mindfulness can really have a massive impact on your stress. This is partly due to the other reasons listed below but also due to how there is, over time, a significant reduction in anxiety.
  2. Reduced rumination. Regular practise is proven to reduce rumination. You’ll worry less because you’ll realise worrying is, in the majority of cases, pointless.
  3. Better memory. This one is slightly odd but it turns out being more mindful also improves your memory! A 2019 study by Jha et al. documented the benefits of mindfulness among two military groups, one who practised regularly and one that never did. Results showed that working memory was improved in the group that regularly practised mindfulness!
  4. Improved focus. There is a direct connection between practising mindfulness and improved cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning. Being less concerned about other things and being more in tune with yourself is great for getting things done!
  5. Less likely to react emotionally to bad situations. Research shows that people who practise mindfulness are able to emotionally detach themselves from upsetting situations. This one is particularly useful if you have to deal with members of the public on a regular basis – especially if they like to complain. Very applicable also to all sorts of working and personal life events.
  6. Satisfaction in relationships. Several studies show that a person who is mindful can respond better to relationship stress and be more open to those important talks which we all must have from time to time. This is true in both romantic and platonic relationships!

This is not an exhaustive list of all of the benefits to practising mindfulness (other studies point to enhanced self-insight, changes in morality, increased immune system functioning, reduction to task effort and having thoughts that are not related to the task at hand, to name just a few).

Mindfulness: what is it and why should it matter to you?

How do I practise mindfulness?

The next question I can hear you asking is how do I practice it now that I know how good it is for me?

Essentially, practising mindfulness is really quite easy. It just involves you thinking about what you are doing. Seriously, that’s all. When I say think about what you are doing, however, I mean really think.

When you drink water from a glass take the time to think about the sensation of your skin on the glass, the water moving through your mouth and down your throat. Being fully aware of everything that is happening is mindfulness.

Try it now: grab a drink and pay attention to how it feels to drink it. The liquid moving about your mouth and down towards your digestive system. Is it refreshing? Focus on that. How does your throat feel when swallowing? Take your time and drink slowly.

If you have just done this then congratulations! You’ve taken your first steps in your mindfulness journey!

I will be exploring more ways to be mindful, including of course mindfulness meditation, in the future. Check out this post on how to create a mindfulness habit.

In the meantime, try to fully experience everything you do. Always pay attention to the feelings you have when doing otherwise mundane tasks. From laundry to jogging and bathing to breathing.

If you have experience with mindfulness let us know what it is in the comments below and how it has helped you. Did you practice mindfulness today? Tell us how and what it felt like!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
About Michael is Amazing

What does happiness mean to me?

Aside from being the title of a decent Amy MacDonald song (“What happiness means to me” – perhaps most notable for an excellent cover of “Dancing in the Dark” which follows on the same track) I do sometimes wonder what happiness means to me.

Happiness can come in short bursts, upon the completion of an act which brings it, or can be longer lasting, such as the happiness that comes from fulfilment. Some people call this second type of happiness “true happiness” although I would disagree with that to a point. We should take happiness in any place we can find it.

Continue reading “What does happiness mean to me?”

Let me tell you why I am amazing.

It sounds presumptuous. Like my ego must have overflown from my oversized head filling the entire room with my conceited self-opinion. But it isn’t presumptuous, it is true.

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Let me tell you why

It is not because I have the best job in the world. I work as manager at a tourist attraction. And it’s a big attraction with people coming from around the world to see it. The variety of entertainments attracts both the young and old, the families and the students, the thrill seeker and the scholar. Indeed, often the prestige of working at such a place is an easy talking point at any social event. The charismatic amongst my colleagues could probably drag the “what do you do for a living?” conversation out for some time. But if someone asked me what I did for a living I wouldn’t say I worked as a manager. For me it is just a job.

Update: I no longer work there two years on. Now I work in the education sector and I’m launching my photography career!

It is not because I have mastery of any skills. Whilst I have tried my hand at many things over the years, from mixology to learning a language to running a race, few things have I excelled at and none I have mastered. Although I keep up many of these hobbies, such as playing the piano and the butchery of the French language, I have never truly invested the time in becoming more than a beginner in these areas. Indeed if I ever have regrets it is that I do not devote enough time to these hobbies and what I refer to as ‘Quality of Life’ improvements. In the budgeting app that I use (because neither am I rich) I even have a section for these Quality of Life expenditures.

It is certainly not because I am fearless. My list of fears runs long. And I’m not just referring to fears of things like spiders or heights either (although I am fond of neither) but also to fears of loved ones being hurt, fear of failure, and fear of what happens after death. Of course, having fears is both natural and expected. Who has no fears? Not me! Perhaps I sometimes let fear become too big of a factor in my decision making process. After all, is the point of fear is not only to remind us of our limitations but in some cases to act as an invitation to act in spite of that fear? That must be why some people like rollercoasters. I do not.

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Yet, even with all of this, I am amazing

What qualifies as amazing is not easily defined, if at all possible, as it is subjective. Some people out there might not believe I am amazing. Those people would be wrong but they could still believe it. Because being amazing is not something that can be universally objective I need only to believe it for it to be true.

And, so, I am amazing. And you can be amazing too!

Join me, in this grand state, as I blog about all manner of things as they relate to me, and indeed you. Expect to find out about my interests, lifestyle, and personality, while making sure you get the most out of each post for your own personal development and interest.

Be sure to check out the Essentials page for all my must read posts!

You can also follow my life on Instagram and Twitter.

I’m looking forward to this!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing