What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is an idea from Buddhism.

But it is an idea that can greatly improve our lives even without the religious foundation.

Because if you practice mindfulness, you will experience a whole series of noticeable life improvements in your mindset.

You can deal better with the nodding in everyday life (stress resistance)

You are less worried and less under pressure

You experience your everyday life more focused and clearer, you postpone less and create more things

You will feel 10-20% happier

But what is mindfulness for your mindset and why does mindfulness improve our mindset, let’s find out together in the following blog.

Or not, I’m not your boss.Β πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ


Anything for you? 🧐


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What is mindfulness for your mindset? πŸ€”

Mindfulness means:

We consciously perceive what is happening inside and outside ourselves as often as possible.

Normally we go through the day rather carelessly.

We automatically unwind our habits and old patterns of thought and action.

We stand up.

We take a shower.

We make snacks during breaks.

Or coffee.

We read the newspaper. Simply scroll through our phones.

We go. Again and again. Like clockwork.

Basal Ganglia

 

The part of our brain (the basal ganglia) that is responsible for habits and automatisms is humming happily and is fully active.

In this state, we function first and foremost. Time simply disappears.

We consciously don’t really realize how we feel, what we think and what is happening around us.

In other words: We are on autopilot. And that’s the opposite of mindfulness.

If I am mindful, I am fully there. I observe myself, my mind and my surroundings closely. I notice everything. And I also choose consciously and attentively what I do instead of winding down my patterns.

I observe my feelings. I actively notice whether I am happy or frustrated at the moment. Or whether I am bored or stressed. I also recognize my unwanted impulses for action.

When my hand automatically reaches for a piece of cake, although I wanted to eat healthier. But we would never do that, am i right? 🀫

I also observe my thoughts from a higher perspective. For example, I notice that I am worried. Or that I compare myself to someone.

But I also experience my surroundings with all my senses. I see the flower in the gutter. I feel the wind in my face. I hear the birds, the cars, the voices around me.

So I am full of myself. I am full of life. I am fully connected to everything through my alert mind. By observing myself attentively. By observing my surroundings attentively.

This is how peace arises - without judgement, without evaluation

The beautiful and peaceful thing about this mindfulness is that it does not judge, not like Susan who always takes a critical look at you when you eat a piece of cake in the office again. I can’t help your diabetic, grim ass, either Susan.Β πŸ™„

However, when I am frustrated, I perceive it without judging it. So without telling me, it’s bad now and I should feel different.

And when I am happy, then I perceive it relaxed. But without congratulating me on it. And also without worrying that the joy could soon disappear again.

Or if I feel fear, then I perceive this fear without self-condemnation. So without annoying me about my fear as well. Without scolding me about it.

I only say to myself: “Oh, I feel fear. How interesting.”

Fear is just fear. No more and no less.

Mindful perception is, therefore, perception without the rat’s tail of meaning, which we normally attach to everything.

If we can do that, it brings us a lot of inner balance. But this form of perception is, of course, something we need to practice and train.

The transience of our feelings and thoughts

If we want to learn to evaluate our thoughts and feelings less, one thing helps us.

This is the realization that our feelings and thoughts are fleeting and not substantial.

In a moment we feel great and half an hour later we suddenly become sad. Then 2 hours later we are well again.

Feelings come and go. They are unstable and fleeting. They are nothing we can rely on.

We also exaggerate the meaning of our feelings by identifying with them.

Instead of saying, “I’m feeling a certain sadness right now,” I say, “I’m sad.” As I say, “I am Ralf.”

And in this way, I make sadness a fixed and exchangeable part of my identity. Just like my name.

And indeed, we often have the feeling that sadness will never pass when we ARE sad. We make sadness our own, it is felt as a firm and eternal part of us.

If, on the other hand, I say: “I feel sad right now and I know it will pass away again”, then I recognize feelings as what they are: only a fleeting phenomenon. Something transient. Something that comes and goes, often without me having any influence on it.

Like the wind. Here I also say: “I feel the wind”.

And not: “I am windy.”

Feelings and thoughts are fleeting and unstable. And the more I understand this, the faster I can observe them attentively and value-free and without judgment and then let them go.

How does mindfulness feel?

Mindfulness is, therefore, a mental state in which I observe. I observe myself. I observe my surroundings. I perceive.

I see, I hear, I feel.

Without saying that it is bad or good.

It’s just there and there’s nothing more to say about it.

And this mental state usually brings with it its own quality of experience.

I feel close and directly connected to myself and life. I feel alive. I feel clear and genuine and honest. I feel calm and peaceful because I only observe because I don’t have to fight at the moment. Because everything can be there as it is.

And that’s why I wrote above that mindfulness makes you happy.

Why is mindfulness so useful?

And now you already have an idea of why it’s so useful to become more mindful.

Because who wouldn’t want to feel more alive and clear? Who doesn’t want to experience more inner balance?

In fact, mindfulness training has been used since the 1980s to teach people how to deal better with stress. The mindfulness training programme MBSR is even subsidized by health insurance companies in Germany.

Targeted mindfulness training has even been proven to help with post-traumatic stress disorders or anxiety disorders. And much more. Awareness training is a miracle cure that will make your life better on a wide scale if you train and practice awareness and incorporate it into your life as an integral part.

Mindfulness training doesn’t just help you cope better with stress and pressure. Increasing your mindfulness in everyday life increases your ability to steer yourself. In other words: you do more often what is right and reasonable for you. You have yourself more under control.

Because you have better contact with yourself, you recognize your thinking and acting faster, if it does not fit to your goals. When you do things that are counterproductive and not goal-oriented.

Mindfulness training often makes you more productive and lets you act more sensibly. Because you see your irrational parts more clearly. And because you can better deal with your irrational parts.

In summary, mindfulness training makes you more productive, relaxed and balanced.

How can I practice mindfulness now?

OK, now you know what mindfulness is and why it is worthwhile to deal with the matter. Now the question remains: How can you practice and train your mindfulness?

And there are many different ways to do that. Because mindfulness affects different levels:

mindfulness for one's own body

mindfulness for one's own feelings, thoughts, impulses, and needs

mindfulness for one's own actions (What am I actually doing and why am I doing it?)

mindfulness for my environment

And then there is one more thing to train: non-evaluating and non-judging.

Let’s go through the different areas:

Exercise 1: Observing your own body

Mindfulness also means feeling one’s own body. Where I am tense. But also when I am relaxed. Or when I have a lump in my stomach. Or a frog in my throat. When I’m cold or warm. Or how deep or flat I breathe. All that belongs to the body.

And I can best practice this body awareness by going through my whole body and focusing my attention on my body.

The best way is to lie down. You close your eyes. And then you go through your whole body with one thought in mind.

Draw your attention to your feet, your toes, your instep, your heel, your ankle. And observe and feel how your feet feel.

Warm? Cold? relaxed? Heavy? Light? Tense? Does something hurt?

Then, step by step, focus your attention on the rest of your body.

On your lower legs, your knees, your thighs, your hips, your soft parts, your bottom, your lower abdomen, your lower back, your upper back, your solar plexus, your chest, your lower and upper arms and your elbows, your shoulders, your neck, your head and your face. I think you get it.

Go through your whole body slowly and systematically. Take yourself time for that. Don’t be in a big time rush.

This is then called a body scan. And this is usually a very pleasant experience. In addition to your attentiveness, you also train your ability to concentrate.

Exercise 2: Observing your own thoughts, impulses, needs and feelings carefully

If you want to get better and more attentive access to your inner life, there is one exercise that will help you: meditation.

In meditation, you sit down with your back straight for a few minutes. Either you sit down on a chair. Or on a meditation cushion. Or you can sit on a wall. What is important is that you have a straight and upright posture.

Now set an alarm clock or an egg timer to 2 or 5 or 10 or 20 minutes.

Then close your eyes and focus your attention exclusively on one thing.

That can be your breath.

Or you imagine an object in your mind. For example, Buddhists like to imagine a Buddha figure.

Or you can say a word in your mind over and over again. It’s best to use a word that has as little meaning for you as possible. For example, “clouds” or “cement bag”.

Then concentrate on the object until the alarm beeps.

In between, your attention and concentration will wander off at some point.

If you notice this, you will draw your attention back to the object of your meditation. And preferably without scolding you.

In fact, this back and forth between directed focus and unintentional wandering is intentional. So don’t get angry when your concentration goes away.

Because this is how you practice directing your attention again and again in the direction you want. This is also the purpose of meditation.

Besides, you also have a clear view of the thoughts, needs, and feelings that interfere with your concentration. Through thoughts and feelings while wandering you will probably get many insights into your unconscious, which can be very enlightening.

So you casually recognize your inner life even more clearly because you perceive it more consciously and intentionally.

Again it is important not to evaluate your thoughts and feelings. Only to perceive. Only observe. Do not judge. Just recognize them briefly and then let them be there. Before you turn back to the object of your concentration.

If you have never meditated before, start with 2-5 minutes. Because in the beginning, it is often really difficult to sit still for even that long.

Over 2-3 weeks you can then increase in small steps to 20-30 minutes.

And another important thing: In order to notice the positive effects of meditation, you need 1-2 weeks of daily practice. Here it is important to have a little patience.

Exercise 3: Observing your own actions

In everyday life, it is also extremely useful to consciously experience one’s own actions.

For how often do we get bogged down in something and notice too late that we have wasted our time on something unimportant again?

Or how often do we catch ourselves doing something that we didn’t really want to do afterward?

If you want to experience your own actions consciously more often, you can practice them as follows:

Formulate the intention to carry out a typical course of action with full awareness and attentiveness.

For example, to clean out the dishwasher.

Or to make you a tea.

Then do what you have set out to do and observe yourself very closely in the action itself.

Move more purposefully and a little slower.

Pay close attention to your hand as it grabs the teacup. Place the cup slowly and consciously on the table. Take the kettle and feel how it feels in your hand. Turn your body slowly and consciously towards the tap, go to the tap and fill the kettle. And so on.

Keep your attention on your action all the time. You can also comment every move in your head. By saying something to yourself like:

“Now I fill the cup with hot water. And now I grab the tea bag and slowly hang it in the cup.”

By literally describing one’s own actions, it is often easier to stay with one’s thoughts in one’s own actions.

And also here it is important to observe your own actions only value-free and not to condemn them. If, for example, something falls down. Then you only say to yourself:

“Oh, now the tea bag has fallen down. I bend down, I pick up the tea bag and hang it in the cup.”

This conscious and attentive practice of action is also a kind of meditation. And by doing so, you practice practicing your daily actions in the future with more attentiveness.

If you do this form of practice on a regular basis, you will regularly find yourself practicing your daily actions more consciously and attentively on your own in the future.

And you will catch yourself more often with unwanted impulse actions. This will give you the chance to consciously intervene and interrupt the unwanted pattern.

Exercise 4: Don't evaluate things

A central part of mindfulness practice is to learn not to evaluate so much and not to condemn.

Not to judge yourself.

Not to judge other people.

Not to judge what happens.

So to learn to simply leave something without value judgment.

Without saying: “This is good or bad now”. Or: “That’s bad or good.”

Without attaching any meaning to it, for example: “That this happened to me means that I’m too stupid or too clumsy”.

It is only a matter of observing things.

Which, admittedly, is really hard and requires some practice.

But it’s worth it because a lot of tension, pressure, and stress in our lives arises when we automatically attach meanings to the things that happen to us.

The extra file on my desk means more work today and I probably won’t get home in time.

And this thought is understandable, but it creates stress and pressure in me.

If I only perceived the file as what it is. So a file on my desk. Then I could take care of it when it’s time. And the thought of the meaning, the extra work, wouldn’t waste my time now.

Assigning meaning to the additional act is understandable. But it is not useful in this case.

That is why it makes sense to practice naked, evaluation-free perception and to train yourself in an evaluation. At least when it is not useful.

But how can I practice judging and evaluating less? Some ideas will help you:

1. you can't see into the future

Realize you can’t see into the future. Realize that you cannot know how a thing develops. And that perhaps it will come differently than you suspect. Your rating “This is bad” can be wrong. The thing could also turn out to be good. It has certainly happened to you that a superficially good thing turned out to be bad or that a clearly bad thing turned out to be good in retrospect. So make it clear to yourself again and again that you can’t know.

If you find yourself judging something good or bad, make it clear to yourself that there are two sides to everything and that you cannot know whether it is really good or bad.

2. change your perspective

In order to heal yourself from the evaluation, practice always taking the opposite position.

So if you judge something as bad or good, force yourself to think in the opposite direction.

What could be good about me being clumsy?

Why is it perhaps bad that they want me for this job?

What are perhaps the chances that I have lost the competition?

What is perhaps good about this populist winning the election?

There are always several sides to everything. Nothing is only good or only bad.

If you practice always taking the opposite position to evaluation, you will become freer and more agile in your mind and make yourself less under pressure and stress.

3. If you rate others ...

There is another special case of evaluation. That is the rating of other people.

Also, this kind of evaluation leads to the fact that I often get angry and upset about someone for hours and put my inner peace and balance at risk without use.

What helps here is a technique that I found somewhere on the Internet. The technique is to involve oneself.

When I evaluate someone, I immediately admit that I am sometimes imperfect in that direction.

He's such a gossiper. Just like me sometimes

She is so superficial. Just like me sometimes

You can't rely on him. On me also sometimes not

By admitting that you are not perfect yourself, you relativize your evaluation.

And so you deprive the thing of the satisfaction that we otherwise draw from self-exaltation. And so we leave it fast. An act of self-education.

With these 3 ideas, you can learn to judge and judge less. Which is the basic attitude in mindfulness practice.

Put together an exercise program

Now you have an idea how you can train and develop your mindfulness.

Practice mindfulness of your body by regularly doing a body scan

Train mindfulness of your thoughts, needs, and feelings by meditating regularly

Practice acting more mindful by performing everyday actions consciously and attentively. And:

Practice not judging things so quickly

Mindfulness, like everything else, is a thing that must be practiced if it is to crawl into our everyday lives. It is not enough to know the theory. It is something that we only experience and get to know when we try it out. Again and again and again.

That’s why the word “practice” always comes up in the area of mindfulness. So the practice of my practicing and becoming better.

Now my question would be: How could your practice look like?

Of course, you can only answer this question if you think you could benefit from more mindfulness.

What do you want to practice in the next few weeks?

When exactly do you want to practice?

How much time per week or per day do you want to invest in your practice?

How do you make sure that it doesn't go down in your everyday life?

If you want to plan your practice, you could ask yourself questions like that.

And now I wish you a lot of attention. With you. With your surroundings. And with the people around you.

If you want to train more Mindfulness:

You can find out how to develop your personal routines and integrate them permanently into your day with this course.

Seven Minute Mindfulness

This comprehensive program offers a powerful way to reap the benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness practices, in a super short time, and with minimal effort.

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