Many people seem unclear about what Mindfulness Is and Is Not. The short answer is that Mindfulness is about getting fully in the present moment and being aware. Mindfulness is not about focusing harder. Jon Kabat Zinn has a great definition for Mindfulness, (Professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School):
– Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment without judgment – Jon Kabat Zin
What does that mean “without judgment?” You could actually be in the present moment but judging it; for example: “I hate this meeting, I have no time for this, I don’t like this moment.” Instead of a bracing against what is, there is a decision to accept what is. It is being open regardless of whether the present moment experiences are good or bad; also not judging yourself...
At this time in 2018, 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety – that’s roughly 19 percent of the nation’s population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). And anxiety among adolescents is at an all time high: about 30% of girls and 20% of boys, totally 6.3 million teens, have a diagnosed anxiety disorder (per National Institute of Mental Health). There are numerous reasons for this astounding rate of anxiety in our country including: our less cohesive, disconnected communities, the constant self comparison brought on by social media, and getting caught up in the seemingly fast pace of life. In addition, anxiety seems to have a genetic feature to it. So if your parents were particularly anxious, you may have a predisposition to being anxious yourself; which means given the “right” environmental factors as mentioned...
Today’s hurried pace pulls our focus to many things during the day, everything is demanding our attention. The frantic pace of putting out fires and getting things done can cause us to miss opportunities to see Joy. We can find joy when we slow down enough to notice.
There are plenty of opportunities throughout our day to find these moments. A bird eating from a feeder, dogs playing with each other, a sunset or the beautiful sky as the sun is rising. The key is to simply be intentional about looking for these moments.
I have been watching the bare stick on my orchid plant for awhile. I intentionally sat and noticed this branch over the past couple of months … and what a payoff! A branch that I thought was dead produced buds then gradually, one by one, opened into blooming pieces of art. I was able to take in these joyful moments just by noticing this blooming process. Where will you find joy by noticing today?