Mindfulness is a skill

Formal and Informal practices

Mindfulness is a process of active, open, non-judjmental awareness. It is paying attention in the present moment with openness, curiosity, kindness and flexibility. When some of us think about mindfulness or meditation, it conjures up the image of sitting in lotus position for hours in silence, and we immediatly reject it.

 

Instead of looking at it as a boring activity, try to think of it as a skill. A skill that you can develop and integrate into your life, making it happier and more focused. It’s a non religious practice, you don’t need to be in the lotus position or burn incense to do it. But you do need to practice it. Basically it’s like going to the gym, the gym of the mind, of awareness.

 

Your Mindfulness practice can be formal and informal.

 

The formal practice of mindfulness includes an intentional commitment of time. It can be 5 minutes at your desk in your office between appointments, 10 minutes on a bench in the park on your lunch hour, 20 minutes at home after the kids are in bed. Practicing formal mindfulness changes our brains in ways that helps us to bring awareness to our daily life.

 

In the course of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction we approach several forms of formal Mindfulness practices:

 

All of these formal practices can also be adapted into informal practice or “everyday Mindfulness”, instead of the “everyday Mindless” that we are used to : running around like in auto-pilot, endless nonsense scrolling on our phones, eating the 12th cookie of the package, screaming with the kids and not knowing why or going for dinner with a friend and not paying attention to what he is saying. Can you relate?

 

When we practice mindfulness in a more informal way we are noticing our experience from moment to moment and bringing our attention to one thing as many times as we can throughout the day.

 

Informal practices of mindfulness can include:

 

 

Mindfulness is not a “technique”, it’s a way of living that is in every one of us. We all have the capacity to practice mindfulness in our daily lives.

 

Practicing formal and/or informal mindfulness as often as we can helps us to learn the skills to live a happier life and to be better prepared to face difficult times.

 

Take good care of you.

 

Manuela

 

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