For me, mindfulness is the physical act of returning your thoughts to the actual here and now whenever you need to.
We all have a lot of thoughts, some estimates are between 12,000 and 60,000 a day. That’s an awful lot of activity in one person’s head;
“I need a cup of tea"
"I must pay my gas bill"
"Why don’t I have someone to help me?"
"The world would be better off without me”
Our thoughts are random, sometimes useful, sometimes not, sometimes pleasurable, sometimes not. It’s when we start to believe the not so pleasurable ones that trouble can start.
That trouble can lead to depression, stress, anxiety and many other mental health issues. The problem is so many of us do not realise that our thoughts are generated by ourselves. We make up the scenarios, the stories, the conflicts and we are very very good at it.
I ask you now, would you speak to your best friend or indeed anyone the way you speak to yourself in your mind. Would you even begin to criticise another the way you criticise yourself? I expect the answer is no. Why then do you do it to yourself?
Some of us have been conditioned over time to believe the negative, “I’m not good enough” “I’m not clever”, or some of us have experienced trauma that has left its mark on your mind. A mark you continuously refer back to, continuously relate to, continuously live your life with. A mark you unwittingly are reluctant to let go of. It can become the very definition of who you are. “I know Vera, she is the anxious one isn’t she”
For others, there may not have been a trauma, just an overwhelming sense of sadness, exhaustion, defeat. The daily slog of life is just too hard and you feel you are always battling against it. Nothing goes right for you. So, you give in to it, it’s not worth bothering trying to do anything, it will always end up the same way.
Or maybe you catastrophize the future. You are frightened to do anything out of the ordinary, try something different, in case of “What might happen”.
There are any number of paths the mind can send us down and we blindly go along with it, never really understanding that you can turn back, or change the path you are on. A little everyday mindfulness and meditation you can change the path, you can start afresh, you can let go of the trauma, the negativity, the fear.