- Mindfulness 101
- What is Mindfulness?
- How to start Mindfulness 101
- Why be Mindful
- WHY: Mindfulness brings joy
- WHY: Mindfulness Conserves Energy
- WHY: Mindfulness Trains and Strengthens the Mind
- WHY: Mindfulness relieves anxiety, stops our struggling and conquers fear
- WHY: Mindfulness grows our Emotional Awareness, EQ
- WHY: Mindfulness grows us spiritually
- Mini- Exercises in Mindfulness
- Major Applications in Depth
- Social EQ Exercise - Mindful Relationships
- === Science of Mindfulness
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgement Mindfulness is deliberately paying full attention what is happening around you and within you -- in your body, heart and mind. - Definition by Jan Chozen Bays
How to start Mindfulness 101
Mindfulness is Not hard work - just let go. It is a simply going with the flow of the mind, not controlling it. Let the mind guide you. Just LET GO and then gradually let go of spurious thoughts - thats about all the focus you need.
- Myth 1: Some have come to believe (perhaps from lectures or practitioners) that mindfulness is hard work, you must focus intensely or think hard or be all about posture or form.
Just do tasks as normal - not any slower or intensely. For example mindful eating is just about eating without distractions like watching TV, talking, etc. Just enjoy simple eating, but not too slowly or faster, or counting breaths during eating. Just let it flow as normal.
Why be Mindful
WHY: Mindfulness brings joy
Mindfulness eventually seeps into every aspect of daily life without boundaries. It is NOT like aerobics or yoga class or a 30' of meditation before bed. You just do it.
Then it spreads bringing heightened awareness, curiosity, a sense of discovery to the previously mundane acts and tasks of living. The more "on automatic pilot" the better.
WHY: Mindfulness Conserves Energy
WHY: Mindfulness Trains and Strengthens the Mind
WHY: Mindfulness relieves anxiety, stops our struggling and conquers fear
WHY: Mindfulness grows our Emotional Awareness, EQ
WHY: Mindfulness grows us spiritually
- Src - Mindfulness on the go by Jan Chozen Bays
Mini- Exercises in Mindfulness
Mindfulness instead of "on-auto-pilot" tasks of morning
Now during the everyday tasks that we do half-sleeping like brushing, bathing, taking a bath, etc - just 5-10' try to just align your thoughts with your situation better instead of as usual rushing through without the sense of presence.
Use your non-dominant hand
- Next time you do something like getting ready in morning, instead of using eg your dominant hand, use your other one. This will make you think and be present. A simple way to force your mind to do it.
- Brushing your teeth
- Combing your hair
Turning the pages of a book or even writing
Do this throughout the day
- Tip: you can mark your dominant hand, putting a sticker on it, or a bandaid. That way when you see the marker you can switch to the non-dominant hand.
Just Pay attention to, be aware of and APPRECIATE your hands
While we use our hands all the time including tapping our smartphones or remote controls - but are we even thinking or appreciating them?
Hands are directly connected to the brain in major ways - see the haptic man sensory impact on your brain below.
- Write the words "See me" on backs of both of your hands. Or you cannot do it eg at work or in public, wear a bold ring on your hand(s).
Use nail polish, if you normally don't (and if you are a woman or even if you are not ha ha). That will focus your attention so you can raise your awareness of your hands.
You can even put on gloves - as if they are part of someone elses hands. Weird purple etc surgical gloves are a good choice for becoming aware of your hands.
Exercise: Each person has characteristic hand gestures while speaking. The hands have a life of their own! Next conversation you can pay attention to gestures by paying a bit more attention to your own or your partner's hands. This should not reduce but rather enhance mindful listening - just focus on the hands a bit more.
Just Pay attention to bottoms of feet
- Whether sitting, walking, running or just any activity - for a few minutes try to pay attention to the bottoms of your feet.
Listen to Sounds around you, or Choose a Song
- Several times a day just stop and listen to sounds around you - 360 degrees as if your ears are sonar dishes.
- Listen to sounds of your breathing, your heart
- Listen to sounds in your room or building
- Listen to "noise" as music - even honking of cars or planes
- Try to appreciate all these sounds as if they were music not as noise
Major Applications in Depth
Mindful eating - "when eating just eat"
It is just about eating without distractions like watching TV, talking, etc. Just enjoy simple eating, but not too slowly or faster, or counting breaths during eating. Just let it flow as normal.
Put notes on your desktop PC or living room table, etc. - "Just Eat" - ie not to do something else while eating and just eat instead!
If you get a coffee or tea and drink it while working. Instead just sit down somewhere and just relish the drink for one or 5 minutes. You don't need to finish it completely - instead just savor the experience for a bit.
Even if you keep your food or drink at your work. Turn your eyes AWAY from the screen and just enjoy that ONE BITE or ONE SIP .. even for 10 seconds - it will allow you a mindful excursion that will soothe you. In a sense you go away from auto-pilot multi-tasking allowing you to focus even better when returning to your work after a few seconds.
Don't talk while eating or drinking. Of course this is your mother ranting against you - but it is a mindful experience. Just stopping and doing one thing at a time will help. Actually if you are in a media sensory experience or in a meeting you are probably doing 3+ things already - "Listening, looking at media, talking, typing, chewing or drinking, etc" If you can focus on eating/drinking instead for a few seconds you will have cut out a few of those multi-tasking. It can refresh you!
Social EQ Exercise - Mindful Relationships
Loving Touch Mindfully
Use your loving hands with a loving touch even with inanimate objects.
- Consider when you touch a baby cheek gently - if you do it lovingly, it changes all your entire mind and body. You can just surrender to your love and appreciation of life.
Next time in a two way conversation, meeting or sitting helpless in a large audience, just try REALLY listening to someone talk. Not judging or complaining about not being able to talk, but instead diving into the stream of conversation.
At least once a day, think of someone close to you give them a genuine and detailed complement.
As you get better - just anyone you meet in daily life.
=== Science of Mindfulness
Suppression of many of our senses like sound and Touch
What is unique in our tech-focused world is our suppression of many of our senses in favor of the vision based.
So even if we are immersed in sound all over, the brain blocks them out, so our perception can focus all the time on vision or technology instead.
Similarly, while in walking it is important to be aware of our posture and balance eg the bottoms of our feet and angle of our bodies. However, if we sit 8+ hours a day in our office jobs, your body tends to suppress all the input from our feet or our posture, so we end up slumping.
Quieten "anxious voices" by Active listening, mindful focus
Instead of saying "shut up" to the frustrating inner voices of anxiety, doubt and fear, there is another way.
Just take part in living NOW around you - mindfully so that you are immersed in the moment just think what happens?
You are now in the moment - and your mind doesn't need to keep worrying about its inner voices.
Figures of cortical homunculi
These figures are renderings of what is called the cortical homunculi. The size of their features represent the relative proportions of the parts of the human brain responsible for motor and somatosensory function. So the features that are most exaggerated have the largest correlate representations in the brain. This model shows what a man's body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its movement.
Take the hands, for example. They are the most dexterous parts of the human body, with large representation in the brain. We sense and manipulate a great deal through them. Therefore they are extremely exaggerated in sensory and motor homunculus. - Gershon and Nan - media.mit.edu
Another representation of the sensory part of the brain a narrow strip on top middle of the cortex of the brain. It clearly shows the hands lips and tongue dominate.
Note The word homunculus is Latin for "little man", and was a term used in alchemy and folklore long before scientific literature began using it. Nerve fibres—conducting somatosensory information from all over the body—terminate in various areas of the parietal lobe in the cerebral cortex, forming a representational map of the body. Dr. Wilder Penfield and his co-investigators Edwin Boldrey and Theodore Rasmussen are considered to be the originators of the sensory and motor homunculi. He and his colleagues went on to experiment with electrical stimulation of different brain areas of patients undergoing open brain surgery to control epilepsy, and were thus able to produce the topographical brain maps and their corresponding homunculi. SRC wiki.
Limited Sensory when Consuming Smartphone and Media
The smartphone homunculus is how we imagine we, and probably you, look like today. He spends his days looking at a 2-dimensional glass display, probably between 4-inches and 14-inches across. That's why he only needs that one eye. No need for stereo vision. He interacts with this display using his index finger (and occasionally one or two other fingers, when a snazzy multi-touch app supports it), and sometimes his tiny ears take auditory cues ("turn left", "turn right") from his navigation app. - Gershon and Nan - media.mit.edu