Mindfulness for Stress Relief

Mindfulness for Stress Relief

(anxiety/anger/panic/phobic/OCD: repeated work or certain practices/depression)

Mindfulness is not new. Its part of what makes us human the capacity to be fully conscious and aware. The capacity for sustained moment-to-moment awareness, especially in the midst of emotional turmoil, is a special skill. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be learned.

Mindfulness,” as used in ancient texts, is an English translation of the Pali word, sati, which connotes awareness, attention, and remembering.

Awareness is inherently powerful, and attention, which is focused awareness, is still more powerful. Just by becoming aware of what is occurring within and around us, we can begin to untangle ourselves from mental preoccupations and difficult emotions.

Another aspect of mindfulness is “remembering.” This does not refer to memory of past events. Each moment we remind ourselves: “Remember—be aware!”

The approach of the new, mindfulness-oriented agenda is “awareness and acceptance first, change second.”

Most notably, mental qualities beyond sati (awareness, attention, and remembering) are being included in “mindfulness” as nonjudgmental, acceptance, and Therapeutic Mindfulness according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the foremost pioneer in the therapeutic application of mindfulness defines as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and no judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment”.

Just as we can improve physical fitness through regular physical exercise, we can develop mindfulness through deliberate mental practices. Mindfulness practices all involve some form of meditation.

Everyday mindfulness: It means noticing the sensations of walking when we walk, the taste of our food when we eat, and the appearance of our surroundings as we pass through them.

Formal meditation practice: This involves setting aside time to go to the mental “gym.” Most involve initially choosing an object of attention, such as the breath, and returning our attention to that object each time the mind wanders.

Retreat practice:

Most involve extended periods of formal practice, often alternating sitting meditation with walking meditation. They are usually conducted in silence, with very little interpersonal interaction. All of the activities of the day—getting up, showering, brushing teeth, eating, doing chores—are done in silence and used as opportunities to practice mindfulness.

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