Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment, but what are its benefits and how do we profit from them?
A wealth of research explores this ancient practice, and research-based evidence shows it helps improve our emotional and physical well-being by reducing negative rumination and future worry. The research has shown that unrealistic and negative forecasting of an unknowable future cause a stress reaction, and mindful practises help us manage this by reducing our emotional reactivity.
In addition to formal meditation, you can also cultivate mindfulness informally by focusing your attention on your moment-to-moment sensations during everyday activities. This is done by single-tasking—doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. As you take a shower or drink your coffee, slow down the process and be fully present as it unfolds and involves all of your senses.
Within my practice I felt there was something missing, I love to meditate, I feel calm, relaxed, grounded and ready to take on the day. I have been looking towards the research on Gratitude and keeping a Gratitude Journal, this is something we encourage and practice at Riboudin Retreats and for good scientific reason. Gratitude enhances empathy , reduces aggression and improves self-esteem. Gratitude increases mental strength, recognizing all that you have to be thankful for - even during the worst times, because they are rarely as bad as we think. So ask yourself : What am I grateful for today?
We all have the ability to cultivate gratitude in our lives, just by taking a few moments to be thankful for the small things present in your life. A journal is a great way to capture these often fleeting thoughts. Carry a simple notebook journal and write down 3-5 gratitudes a day. With a journal you can record things as they arise. I started with the big things in my life, my children and how they make me laugh, the sunshine and the fruit and vegetables I grow. I now regularly appreciate the smaller events in my life, the smell of freshly made coffee, home-made soup, the beauty of wild flowers. When you return to review your pages at the end of the day and after several weeks, you will be amazed at all the wonderful experiences you have had, your gratitude and joy will grow.
By practicing gratitude and using a gratitude journal you can effectively strengthen your positive thoughts, your clarity and focus, all of which improve our mindfulness. Developing a gratitude practice is one of the simplest ways to improve your happiness and well-being. So again ask yourself : What am I grateful for?