‘Ever since I can remember, people have always said I come across as a happy, upbeat kind of person. My dear Mum says I was always laughing and smiling as a young baby. But while some of us may have a greater prosperity to happiness than others, I think the truth is that some of us are also better at pretending than others. I pretended as a lot a s a young woman; it took me a long time to realize the difference between pretending and being truly happy’. – Tara Ward
It is only in the recent years that the ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness (sati) has been making enormous waves in the Western world. But what exactly is the mindful movement all about? Well, according to Tara Ward, our very own mindfulness guru and author of self-help guides Mindfulness for Happiness, Mindfulness for Success and Mindfulness for Confidence, there are two simple explanations. The first is the essential theory of mindfulness which is all about being ‘fully present in the now’. The second is the practical application of mindfulness which requires a sharp focus on your breath, (the very thing that signals that you are present in the moment no matter where your head may be), in order to gently access your senses in relation to your body and surroundings. Scientifically proven, meditative mindfulness is extremely beneficial to our mental health. It is often our inaccurate and irrational views of the world that can trigger our negative emotions, so by learning to develop an increased sense of self-awareness by paying more attention to our thoughts and feelings in a particular moment, we can free ourselves of suffering. Various studies have shown the way in which we shape our inner focus in mindful meditation activates our brain and with frequent repetition such an intentionally created state can overtime become a permanent trait of the individual reflected in eventual changes in the structure of the brain. Who doesn’t want to feel more happy and less stressed?
Illustrations from http://imgur.com/a/19Zge
Former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Professor Mark Williams and founder of The Mindfulness Meditation Institute in North Carolina, Charles A. Francis, further explain how mindfulness can help mental wellbeing:
‘Mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful…This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply “mental events” that do not have to control us’. – Prof. Mark Williams
‘Researchers are finding that mindfulness meditation helps people overcome many health-related issues such as stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, substance abuse, and much more. They’re also finding that the practice helps people enhance their mental capabilities such as abstract thinking, memory, and creativity. It even helps people improve their leadership and social skills’. – Charles A. Francis
It is safe to say that through its practice, mindfulness has endless benefits and can help restore a sense of balance, calm and appreciation in our everyday lives. From taking time to tune-in to our breathing pattern to transforming mundane tasks we perform everyday into moments of mindfulness by truly paying attention to them, we can all seek to improve our quality of life. So, want to be part of the mindful movement? Tara Ward’s series of eBooks on mindfulness can offer beginners the opportunity to try out mindful meditation techniques whenever they need a little boost of positivity and, with the option for “audio meditation” to guide you through the exercises with ease, you can practice being mindful even during rush hour!
Here is a short but enlightening interview with Tara where she explains what mindfulness can do for you:
Click below to purchase Tara Ward’s eBooks on AmazonUK: