Happy Mindfulness Day! - by Tom Folley
Mindfulness is a recent way of describing an ancient feeling. It’s a way of being connected to the world around you, a way of letting the world help to keep you in balance with yourself.
Our brains have developed to help us concentrate on tasks, but it doesn’t get to decide what those tasks are. So sometimes those skills are misdirected, we concentrate too heavily on things that make us worried, and so we become anxious and stressed.
So, Mindfulness makes use of a skill we already have – concentration – and directs it towards more useful, positive activity.
Studies have shown that Mindfulness Meditation, a mental training process, can help slow down the racing thoughts that cause panic and stress – regrets of the past, concern for the future – and focus instead on the present. The idea is, that by becoming immersed in the present, we can make everyday activities become more meaningful, more purposeful.
Mindfulness Meditation has shown itself to have so many advantages that it is becoming an acceptable tool in all sorts of areas, not only to treat negative thoughts, stress and anxiety, but to address body image issues, improve attention levels in everyday life and concentration in the workplace – some employers are using Mindfulness Meditation to improve leadership skills and to reduce time lost through illness.
At The Wild Mind Project, Mindfulness Meditation is useful in conjunction with other activities, as well as in its own right. The potential to combat negative thoughts and to increase life satisfaction by changing the direction of our concentration is a simple but powerful tool that anyone can learn, and it can be practised inside or out, sitting, standing or walking.
In addition, by being actively mindful outside, we can become more aware of our place in the world, using its balance to maintain our own stability. As a result, we can find that by engaging with the wider world of nature, we gain perspective, patience and peace for ourselves.