Posted in Weekly Blog

The Meaning of Mindfulness

mindful

Today we explored what people understand by ‘Mindfulness’ and their experiences of it.  Some people knew nothing about it, others had experienced it in a Buddist context and others had experienced the ‘Mindful Raisin’ exercise.  Sounds intriguing?  People had sat with raisins and considered what they look like, sound like, smell like and taste like!!! Being mindful seems to be about being aware of the present moment and taking notice of everyday events.  Being aware in this way can help us in a number of ways, it can slow us down, help us appreciate things more and help us respond better and do less things we regret…it can even turn the mundane chore of washing up into a sensual aromatic experience!  We had a go at some mindful breathing as a group exercise which was relaxing, and we had a discussion about the difference between mindful thoughts and the place of feeling suicidal and racing, horrible, despairing and agitated thoughts-could mindfulness help?  It was discussed that if we become well practiced at mindful thinking, we may have trained our brains enough to help slow us down a bit in a crisis.

Food for thought…so if you think it would be helpful to wash up mindfully…read on, the article below is an extract from Mercola.com:

Read This Mindfulness Passage Before Washing Your Dishes…

In the case of washing dishes, researchers from Florida State University (FSU) had 51 students read either a “descriptive” dishwashing passage or a “mindfulness” dishwashing passage prior to carrying out the chore. The mindfulness message read, in part, as follows:3

While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes. This means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point.

The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.”

The study’s lead author noted a particular interest in how the mundane activities in life could be “used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase overall sense of well-being.”

And it turned out that by washing dishes mindfully – focusing on the smell of the soap, the feeling of the warm water, and touching the dishes – led to significant improvements in well-being.4

Specifically, the mindful group increased their feelings of inspiration by 25 percent while lowering their level of nervousness by 27 percent.5 The “descriptive” control group experienced no such benefits.

The implications of the study are vast, as it suggests applying mindfulness to virtually any common activity might serve as a simple way to reduce stress and improve your mental health.

So there you go, the next time you are washing dishes that old feeling of it being a chore may gave in to feelings of a much more pleasurable experience!

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