Choosing To Focus On The Positive
Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to focus on the positive when you seem to be surrounded by negativity. It takes great strength of character to seek the silver lining when you’re the victim of gossip but finding the positive is an essential tool when shifting from feeling powerless to powerful.
Mindfulness And Accepting The Present
Whilst at one of the worlds best facilities in 2009, I was introduced to something called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation which has gained great medical recognition and is designed to cultivate an experience of living in the moment. However, to stop there would be to sell mindfulness short. It also encourages us to accept the present in all its fullness – even if what we are experiencing is unpleasant.
It serves to both heighten our perceptions and teach us to appreciate and see our environment anew. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of mindfulness and the man responsible for bringing it into the mainstream medical arena, describes mindfulness as ‘The awareness that emerges when we learn to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally to things as they are.’
The first few mindfulness classes I attended brought me such a deep feeling of relaxation, well being and peace, I knew I would continue to use mindfulness throughout the course of my life.
Mindfulness can teach us to access states of openness, acceptance and immersion which we seldom find in our everyday lives. The sort of states one might experience on holiday. Think of mindfulness as a form of mental vacation, a way to connect with non-judgmental principles and a complete acceptance of what is, whatever that may be.
In recent years the body of research on mindfulness has been enormous and the amount of positive findings staggering. Mindfulness has been found to help us better process pain and emotion and there is evidence which suggests it can significantly reduce the chance of patients with chronic depression relapsing. Studies even show that mindfulness can improve our concentration and quality of sleep.
As if those benefits weren’t enough, it has also been proven that mindfulness lowers the stress hormone Cortisol and many patients treated for stress, anxiety, pain and depression are increasingly being advised to practice mindfulness. Whereby mindfulness was once seen as a holistic treatment, it is now recognized by the medical profession as a viable treatment in and of itself.
To gain more insight into what mindfulness is, it is important to examine what it is not. For instance, mindfulness is not trying to relax. To become aware of the present moment, especially when we are going through a period of stress or depression, can be far from relaxing. Mindfulness simply allows us to become less reactive to our inner struggles and enables us to let go.
Unlike other forms of meditation, mindfulness is not trying to rid the mind of thoughts. When thoughts arise (as they will) the mindful person will simply acknowledge and observe them, allowing them to pass and returning their focus to the breath.
Stay tuned – next Monday we will continue looking at choosing to focus on the positive and will go into the role goals, hobbies and interests have to play in helping us to ooze positivity.
Have you ever meditated? What type of meditation did you do and how did you feel after? Is daily meditation something you would like to introduce into your lifestyle? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, understanding and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.