Special to Farmers Forum
Many of us lead busy lives. We are busy thinking about yesterday and busy planning for tomorrow. When we focus on the past and future, we aren’t paying a lot of attention to the present—where we are right now. Mindfulness is simply an invitation to step out of the clutter and really focus on what we are doing, thinking, and feeling in this moment.
Mindfulness is a way of being. It’s also a skill developed by deciding to slow down and taking the time to pay attention and be curious about things that we’re experiencing and things that we see around us. Each of us can be mindful—we just don’t do it often. Mindfulness comes from Buddhism, but it can be as religious or non-religious as you’d like. Therapies used today in mainstream settings that use mindfulness are not religious. Most people new to mindfulness first work on three of its main parts: attention, curiosity, and acceptance.
Attention means that we are aware of things in and around us.
Curiosity means exploring without judgment.
Acceptance means embracing the present moment as it is, both the good and the bad.
Research shows that mindfulness can help improve well-being and quality of life. It may help people reduce stress and anxiety, manage symptoms of some mental illnesses and substance use problems, and improve physical health. Mindfulness can help us look at our own lives more clearly. It can help develop a different relationship with our experiences and it can give us space to look at problems from all perspectives, without getting tangled in difficult thoughts or feelings that only make us feel worse.
What can mindfulness look like?
• Eat a meal without distractions like TV or any other devices;
• Go for a walk and set out to really pay attention to the environment around you;
• Take a minute to sit quietly and focus on the sensation of your breath.
Submitted by the Canadian Mental Health Association Champlain East. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice. If you need advice, please consult a qualified health care professional. call CMHA 1-800-493-8271 or visit www.cmha-east.on.ca