In this short article, I’m going to talk about what does mindfulness mean to me. When I was growing up, my mother used to say that mindfulness is “the quiet self.” She would teach us how to be more mindful of our environments, and what does mindfulness really mean to each of us. Below, I’ll share what she said about mindfulness with you.
“Meditation is for everyone. You can’t meditate if you aren’t willing to be present. If you aren’t fully present, you won’t be able to hear what does mindfulness mean to you.” – Susan Kaplan, Ph.D. What does mindfulness mean to you? Susan realized that if we fully became present in the moment, we would be able to experience and practice the benefits of meditation.
Susan said that one of the best things that we can do to be mindful is to perform mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness exercises help you to pay attention to the sensations that you experience in the present moment, and they help you to release habitual patterns, such as overeating. These exercises allow you to take a look at what you’re eating and drinking in a non-judgmental, calm way. Instead of focusing on what you feel when you consume that ice cream, for example, you can focus on the feelings of pleasure that arise from eating the ice cream.
Some people have a difficult time paying attention to the sensations that occur around them, especially if they are surrounded by loud noises or their environment is filled with stress. When we are fully present in the moment, however, these kinds of disturbances seem less prevalent. This is what mindfulness is all about. The mindfulness we practice also allows us to experience our bodies from a more holistic perspective. Being fully present allows you to appreciate the sensations that come from being alive, rather than paying attention to them.
Susan was able to teach her daughter about mindfulness and she explained that mindfulness can benefit parents in similar ways. For instance, if you feel that you are fighting with your kids over an issue, it’s likely that you’re not really feeling good, even though you might be trying to resolve the situation. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention exercises can help you to realize that you don’t always need to fight to solve problems, so you can instead learn to accept them and try to make something positive out of the moment.
Susan told me that mindfulness also helps parents to understand their own bodies and the feelings and emotions that are associated with them. When she was sitting with her children, she noticed how her body language and her breathing changed when she was angry, stressed or frustrated. As a mother of small children, she realized that she needed to slow down and be present with her own reactions and the physical sensations that came as a result. Instead of trying to avoid her own sensations, she learned to embrace them and take time to feel them. This led her to better communicate with her kids about her feelings, which turned out to be important elements of her child rearing process.
The third mom I interviewed also brought mindfulness into her daily life. She found that by being present with her children and surrounding herself with positive people, she was able to find peace and happiness in her life. Mindful eating led her to better eating choices and to letting go of her guilt when she used food as a form of self-medication. She found that she was able to bring mindfulness into her interactions with her husband and children, as well, because she was no longer focusing on the things that she felt bad about. This led her to have a more peaceful marriage and a healthier relationship.
Mindfulness can benefit your relationships, your health and your well-being. When you’re aware of how your body is reacting to what you’re doing in each moment, you can be more aware of the good things that come out of your experiences and the connections you make with other people. Mindfulness meditation gives you the tools to pause, look at what’s happening, take a breath and then respond to what comes next instead of running away from it or fighting it. By paying attention to what’s happening, you open yourself up to new opportunities.