A study reported that many individuals would rather self-administer electroshocks than be alone with their thoughts.
Mindfulness, to me, has always been an abstract concept, yet it’s just the concept of being – being in the present moment with your sensations, thoughts and feelings. But what does that even mean? Aren’t we already being in the present moment, whether we know it or not? Why is there a need to be mindful about it? What difference does it make?
The most memorable example of mindfulness was when a monk shared about his anxiety as a child. He spoke about having frequent panic attacks as a child, and he was always trying to fight it off, as it could be debilitating at times. It was not until one day, when his father told him to learn to be present with his anxiety – an advice that did not seem to make sense, because, why would he even want his anxiety to stay for another moment? He took his advice anyway, because he was at his wit’s end. So each time pangs of anxiety hit, instead of frantically averting it, he acknowledged the panic attack, allowed himself to feel the panicky tremors coursing through his body and all the accompanying sensations, thoughts and emotions, sat with it as he focused on his in-breaths and out-breaths. He followed through these steps religiously each time and was bravely one with his anxiety, acknowledging and embracing it. And given time, as he learned to accept and live with it, he noticed that his anxiety episodes decreased and he felt more in control each time it happened.
This experience is not just unique to this particular monk. A research conducted by Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist, found that records of brainwave activities, specifically that of gamma waves, of olympic-level meditators are very different from those who do not meditate. Gamma waves, which are associated with cognition and memory, usually last for about half a second when we solve a persistent issue. For these olympic-level meditators, who have clocked up to 62,000 hours of meditation, they experience very strong gamma waves all the time no matter what they are doing, even beyond meditation.
“There is a state of being which is not like our ordinary state. Sometimes it’s called liberation, enlightenment, awake, whatever the word may be, we suspect there’s really no vocabulary that captures what that might be. Olympic-level meditators say, ‘It’s very spacious, and you’re wide open, you’re prepared for whatever may come’.”– Daniel Goleman, Psychologist
Our mind is like a time machine. It often travels into the past, as we ruminate about events that have happened, and it travels to the future, as we imagine, plan or worry about what is to come. While being in a time machine sounds like a cool thing to do, it can be very destabilising for the mind. Replaying negative events about the past can keep us stuck in a place that we are no longer at, and worrying about the future sends your mind into an unnecessary frenzy over things that are beyond our control, and most importantly, most of what we worry about never actually ends up happening. But yet, in our waking moments, we continue to torment ourselves with these thoughts, and hardly pay attention to the present – the present sights, sounds, tastes, touches and smells, thoughts and emotions.
“Mindfulness is not about being positive all the time or a bubblegum sort of happiness — la, la, la. It’s about noticing what happens moment to moment, the easy and the difficult, and the painful and the joyful. It’s about building a muscle to be present and awake in your life.”– Suzanne Westbrook, Retired Doctor from Harvard University
Benefits of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness improves mental health.
In recent times, numerous psychotherapists have incorporated mindfulness meditation into therapies for patients facing conditions and issues like depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders and couples’ conflicts.
- Mindfulness improves physical health.
Scientists discovered that mindfulness can alleviate stress, improve sleep quality, reduce blood pressure, treat heart diseases, decrease chronic pain, and ease gastrointestinal issues.
- Mindfulness improves overall well-being.
Being mindful aids in being fully involved in whatever you do, it teaches you how to savour pleasures in life as they unfold and expands your capacity to navigate through challenging times. By focusing on the here and now, many who exercise mindfulness realise that they are less fixated on future concerns and past regrets, as well as achievements and self-worth, and are better at connecting deeper with others.
The Wellness Retreat
Mindfulness is a manner of self-reflection and learning novel ways to be in a relationship with ourselves. This is so crucial, and the lack of mindfulness has seen many facing issues like chronic stress and burnout, and thus we would like to invite everyone to join us on a Wellness Retreat!
Join us on a mindful Wellness Retreat, where you will be guided to reconnect with your mind, heart and body through mindfulness, yoga and meditation sessions along with other useful workshops, and even enjoy a free meridian treatment and therapy session post-retreat!
This Wellness Retreat is brought to you by A Kind Place and eGe to reconnect with your mind, heart and body. Limited slots available, sign up and secure your spot today. Click here to register.
A Kind Place supports and welcomes everyone from all walks of life, gender identity, orientation, and backgrounds. We offer free 15-minutes consultation for you to meet with your choice of therapist / psychologist therapy / counsellor to support you on your journey of mental wellness. For any enquiries, Whatsapp us or send them to email@example.com. Reach out to us today!
Check out our other blogs: