Mindfulness involves actively paying attention to the present moment, being aware of and attending to what is happening in the here and now. In essence, mindfulness helps to train our brains to notice thoughts, feelings, sensations, sounds, sights and smells that are occurring in the present moment. We spend a great deal of our lives on ‘auto-pilot’, where we are not aware of the different thoughts going through our heads, or not aware of how we are feeling as we haven’t ‘checked in’ with ourselves or spent time observing our inner state. Mindfulness can help us to break out of this ‘auto-pilot’ mode and become more aware of the things that we are experiencing from a sensory point of view, as well as our internal thoughts and feelings.
It encourages us to notice the things that we don’t normally see as our heads are too busy thinking about the future or the past. As human beings, we are very lucky to have the ability to reflect on things that have happened in the past, and to use our imaginations to think about things that may happen in the future. However, at times this ability can make life hard – we can feel as though our minds are stuck ruminating and going over things that have happened in the past. Or alternatively, we can spend a lot of time worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future. Being mindful helps us to train our attention to the present moment and gain more control over what we focus on.
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