Mindfulness is becoming a well-recognised and popular practice in stress reduction techniques. However, the practice of mindfulness becomes more of a way of life, guiding you back to the present moment over and over again as you grow to become attentive and open, more aware. The practice of mindfulness will enable you to give your life back to yourself.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally – Author Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness for Beginners.
Throughout your day, you may find yourself mindlessly moving from one activity to another without truly being present, or paying attention to what it is you are actually doing. Sometimes you may find yourself mentally caught in past thoughts, emotions and patterns of behaviours that could contribute to unhappiness in life, symptoms of depression, or you may even spend countless hours worrying about future possibilities that have not yet realised, causing you unnecessary anxiety. I understand because these are and have been my personal experiences.
Practicing mindfulness provides strategies and tools that bring us back to the now, to slow down and live in the present moment. How? By directing our attention to what IS happening. Mindfulness is a practice, though the practice can help change your life in profound ways.
Mindfulness for Me
I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2013 after 12years of exposure to traumatic crime scenes. Some of these scenes involvedabused children, infant and child deaths, murders, fatal car incidents, suspicious deaths, a house fire where 11 people perished and suicides to name but a few of my experiences that were part of my regular work day during my service as a Scenes Of Crime Officer for the Queensland Police Service (QPS). At times I would attend up to three consecutive scenes in a single eight-hour shift involving suicide victims or fatal incidents.After 13 years and 3 months of service to the QPS, I was medically retired in 2014.
Accompanying my diagnosis of PTSD is severe chronic depression and anxiety. However, if you were to meet me you would very likely not pick this. Why? Well, PTSD is not visible, nor is depression and anxiety. If you spent enough time with me though your may see or hear it, though I tend to stay away from others when I’m not on my best days.
Thankfully, I have more good days now than I used to due to my regular practice of yoga and mindfulness. Otherwise, I vulnerably admit I may not be alive today. This does not mean I live free from PTSD, anxiety and depression. Instead I am able to live life with a different and more positive perspective by simply being aware and noticing my life and the moment as it is, right now! I have become more mindful of the love and support of my family, my beautiful home, my pets, my body, mind and breath. I have also become aware of how my thoughts impact my perspective on life. Some days I simply sit and focus on the breath to keep me present for 10 minutes or sometimes a little more. Acceptance of ‘what is’ doesn’t always mean we like it. I have learned that this is a mindfulness practice in itself.
The truth is, the practice of mindfulness keep me present through learned techniques to prevent or reduce the severity of flashbacks, thoughts of the past and the future that used to debilitate me. The practice of yoga is also where I integrate and teach the practice of mindfulness.
Throughout 2013 and 2014, I was introduced to the practice of mindfulness and meditation by one of my mentor’s and teachers, Tammy Williams of Yoga NRG whilst undertaking my 200 hours in yoga teacher training. In 2015 I attended her Mindfulness Coaching Course where I deepened my own personal mindfulness meditation practices and attained my Mindfulness Coaching qualification so I can now share these techniques with you.
Mindfulness is one of the many forms of mediation. Meditation allows to:
1. Regulate attention and energy
2. Influence and possibly transform the quality of our human experience
3. Realise the full range of our humanity
4. Influence our relationships with others
Mindfulness is a love affair – with life, reality,
imagination, your being, your heart, your body, your
mind, and the world(Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness for Beginners)
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