Saturday, April 15, 2017

A to Z of Happiness: M - Mindfulness #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z

Mindfulness is a centuries old therapeutic technique, used for focusing our awareness on the present moment... on our thoughts, feelings, actions and bodily sensations RIGHT NOW... so that we don't get distracted by our environment and the inherently flighty nature of our mind. Mindfulness reduces stress and improves effectiveness in our day-to-day life. It helps us control our mind, so that we can use it to our maximum advantage.

How Do We Define Mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a well-known author and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, says - "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."

Psychologist Scott Bishop describes mindfulness as a “nonelaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, sensation that arises... is acknowledged and accepted as it is.”


When we are mindful, we do things "purposefully", not just for the sake of completing them. When we are mindful, we don't keep switching to and fro between regrets about the past and worry about the future. When we are mindful, we don't "react" to our experiences, we simply witness, and, if required, we "respond".

So how exactly does mindfulness affect our happiness quotient?

5 Ways In Which Mindfulness Leads To Happiness

  1. Mindfulness Makes Us More Grateful.

    Our life is full of countless blessings. From the air that we breathe, to our bodies, which we so carelessly neglect. But our minds our usually so "full" that we never notice how blessed we are. If we start paying attention to our life, moment by moment, we will find that we have a million things to be grateful for every single day. An attitude of GRATITUDE (covered under 'G') makes way for happiness in life.

  2. Mindfulness Increases Productivity And Knowledge.

    When we do something with all our focus and attention, our memory and concentration automatically increases. We are able to learn more, faster. We are able to recall things better. With this enhanced sense of acquiring and applying KNOWLEDGE (covered under 'K'), we work with greater confidence. We tend to make fewer or no mistakes. Our quality of work improves. We are able to complete the task at hand quicker.

  3. Mindfulness Leads To Inner Contentment And Calmness.

    When we are fully focused in whatever we are doing, we know that we are giving it our best. Whether it is the preparation of an important client presentation at work, or something as mundane as brushing our teeth in the morning. We know we haven't forgotten anything. We know we haven't made any careless mistakes. We are confident that we have given our hundred percent. And that gives us a sense of inner satisfaction. It also does away with the stress associated with tackling too many things at the same time, allowing us to be more CALM. (Covered under 'C'.)

  4. Mindfulness Cuts the Negative Chatter In Our Minds.

    Human minds can hold only one THOUGHT at a time. (Covered under 'T'.) Most of the time when we get caught in a loop of mental negativity, it happens because we don't even realize that we've started on thoughts that make us unhappy, because we haven't been paying attention to what we were doing. When we learn to be mindful, the moment we notice that a negative thought has crept into our mind, we can instantly change it with some other positive thought. Mindfulness helps us see thoughts as clouds floating by through our consciousness. It shows us that WE have the POWER to decide which thoughts will stay and which won't.

  5. Mindfulness Improves Our Inter-Personal Relations.

    Would you like it if your partner, despite knowing the fact that you're an asthmatic and allergic to cigarette smoke, started smoking around you? Forget allergies, let's talk about likes. Have you never been annoyed at your mom for packing something in your school lunch box that you hated? We expect our closed ones to be "mindful" of our needs, don't we? Likewise, we also tend to get closer to people who show sensitivity to our needs. Mindfulness is the tool that helps us live our life with LOVE. (Covered under 'L'.)

Despite all its benefits, mindfulness is not our "default" state. It has to be developed by conscious effort and practice. Here are the three key elements required for practicing mindfulness.

3 Key Elements For Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Intent:
    You must consciously WANT to be fully aware in your present moment (and do this repeatedly, whenever your awareness shifts).

  2. Focus:
    You only need to pay attention to what is happening RIGHT NOW. What you are doing, what you are feeling, what you are thinking, what does the air feel like around you?...

  3. Attitude:
    Just watch. Do not judge. Do not react. Only witness.

Do you try to practice mindfulness in your daily life? If yes, then how do you do it? How has being mindful improved your life or your relationships?

This is my 13th post for A to Z of Happiness.

I have completed this challenge once before, and published it as a kindle ebook. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

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Cathy Graham said...

Great post on mindfulness, Chicky. It really is something we all need to focus on in these distracted busy times we live in. I get caught up in that mental chatter thing you described and can get in a negative state of mind if I let myself, regretting things or beating myself up for mistakes. Good to focus on now and the moment, being grateful for it since it really is all we have. Happy A to Z! Hang in there, Girl! You're doing great! And today we get a day off to catch up. I'm already thinking about my N post for tomorrow and lay in bed with poetry lines dancing around in my head.

Sara C. Snider said...

Great post. I do try to be mindful, though of course don't always succeed. Walking helps quiet my mind to focus on the present. I also try to take a quiet moment now and again and be grateful for what I have. Thanks for visiting my blog! Sorry it took me so long to return visit.

A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

Shilpa Garg said...

Your post reminded me of the Vipassana course. This was exactly what was shared there. Being mindful of every sensation and accepting it without any judgement. This not only reduces the chaos within, but makes makes you peaceful and content too.

Shirley Corder said...

Hi Kaddu, (Is that correct?)
Thanks for paying me a visit. I see you did the A to Z before on the same topic I'm doing now. Well done on turning it into an eBook. I intend doing that this time too, but as you say, we'll see how time works out!

Debbie D. said...

As a person who is easily distracted, this is something I should be practising more often. It's also difficult to not react to certain things, especially if one has a passionate nature. I am definitely mindful of others and grateful for all of life's offerings.

Amrita Basu Misra said...

The focus part is most difficult in mindfullnes.You have given a good idea about how to start .I do try ,but its hard!

Sanch Writes said...

Mindfulness i something I strive to practice but struggle with as well. Could explain my state of unhappiness! :P

Sreesha Divakaran said...

As I just mentioned on Shubhangi's blog (who's written a similar post on taming the mind), I really need to work hard on my focus. Practicing mindfulness has long term benefits, as you've pointed out. Focus is the way to go, but also what we struggle the most with.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chicky - I hope you're feeling easier now. Mindfulness is not easy to achieve ... we tend if we're not involved to be thinking ahead ... whereas if we could just 'take time out' to be still we could be mindful too ... lovely post - cheers Hilary

Vinodini Iyer said...

Being mindful can do wonders to us. If only we could be mindful about being mindful. That is one major catch.

The Average Mom said...

Very well written Chicky, being distracted takes away the essence of the present moment. Though i wish it was easy achieving this state, it is so easy to be distracted nowadays

Meal to the Heart said...

Interesting post, To control negative thoughts with mindfulness is very typical to handle for me. Your post covers all aspects of mindfulness. Beautifully written. enjoyed a lot
Thanks for sharing
Dr Bushra
Do visit mineN for Necessary Exercise during Pregnancy

Emily Bloomquist said...

One of those things easier said than done. I do try to practice mindfulness but find myself judging without fully observing. The key for me (and most difficult part) is to say nothing until I have had time to reflect on the situation. Good post and reminder!

Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Nurturing Owl Parents

Patricia said...

Great post and a needed reminder. I try to have some quiet time everyday to get away from all the busyness of life, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Not always successful but always helps keep things in perspective. Going for walks helps keep me calm and relaxed.

Menaka Bharathi said...

Mindfulness has successfully increased my productivity Kadambari, I can vouch for that. I have had this special experience and also love it when I teach young children. Mindfulness has an effect in every aspect of my life.
Launching SIM Organics This April

*Menaka Bharathi *


Geetika Gupta said...

These are some great tips, Chicky! I try to be mindful a lot... I'm not sure how much I succeed in doing that!


Anmol Rawat said...

This Mindfulness is something I am missing from my life. I just read Tina's post who has also posted on the similar theme and you guys are making me realize that I might be missing a lot by not being mindful. Abhi presently, I'm too busy with this challenge. May be later I can work around things :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

True, Cathy! It is all we have.
I'm glad you could relate to this post. Thank you! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Walking is a great way to practice mindfulness. Just the rhythm of our steps and our breath.
Thank you for stopping by, Sara! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

It actually does work, Shilpa. Every time I remember to stop and do it!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hello again, Shirley! Yes, it is Kaddu :D
Oh we won't see how time works out! 'Coz you HAVE TO do it, you know! You're putting in so much effort into your posts, it has to go into a book!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh yes, Debbie! It does get difficult at times to not react. I suppose, like all other things in life, mindfulness also requires practice, right?

Chicky Kadambari said...

I find it difficult too sometimes, Amrita. I've realized that it's better then to distract my mind with a movie or something.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hey Sanch! You're going through a phase. We all do! I know you'll bounce right back up! Hugs! :D

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hahaha! Yeah, Sreesha... the most beneficial things are usually the most difficult things to do! :P

Chicky Kadambari said...

No Hilary, I'm still lagging behind! By two posts now! :P
Yes, not thinking ahead all the time does help. Just do whatever you can do right now. That's what my Dad keeps reminding me.

Chicky Kadambari said...

That is probably the only catch, Vinodini. :D If we remember to be mindful, then it's not so difficult usually.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh it's TOO easy to get distracted these days, Smita! Thank you for stopping by! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Dr. Bushra. I'm glad you could relate to this post! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Hello again, Emily. I guess we keep introspecting, and we continue working on our self, right?
Thank you for stopping by! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Yes, taking a moment off from our hectic life is important, Patricia. Thank you :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh yes, Menaka. It affects all aspects of our life!
Thank you for stopping by! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Geets! I guess as long as we keep trying, it's sufficient, right? :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

You definitely must, Anmol.
And thank you for stopping by! :)

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