The use of Mindfulness

I have been using mindfulness myself regularly for over three years now. Having just completed a two-and-a-half-day course on teaching mindfulness, I am deeply motivated to spread the word about how life changing it is.

Mindfulness or being present in the moment has a wealth of research behind its positive effect on mental health and wellbeing in a range of areas. It is simple and accessible to all, requiring only a moment to pause and reflect on what is happening for you in the moment.

The power of breath astounds me. It is so simple and yet so hard to do in our busy lives of rush, rush and more rush. We need constant reminders to stop, pause and breathe. When you do, that power to make a sensible choice is liberated, we can respond rather than react. We become more human.

This is best described by Viktor E Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor;

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

In the complicated medical world, the simple things are often over-looked as not being complex enough to really make a difference to one’s physiology either short term or long term. It is not seen as sexy or seductive to just breathe, medications or other interventions are sought, often with us reaching for the quick fix.

Mindfulness has been in practice for centuries. Current clever research and imaging techniques such as functional MRI studies of the brain are now illustrating physiologically the reason that mindfulness works. It seems it is hard for us to embrace something so simple and profound with belief alone, we want and crave proof of action. Well, now we have both, so we just need to practice, as like any good habit it requires cultivation.