Mindfulness : the awareness of what is happening in the present moment
Scientific research has shown that the practice of any meditation based on mindfulness (or awareness of what is happening in the present moment), can produce numerous beneficial effects on people, amongst which:
- Reduces stress, increases the ability to tolerate adverse experiences, increases relaxation and enjoyment of the present moment.
- Reduces automatisms and improves the decision-making and problem-solving process.
- It favors a better emotional regulation and a greater coherence between thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
- Improves self-perception and, therefore, self-esteem.
- Greater presence and connection with others, which increases positive social relationships. People who practice meditation stand out positively in their assessment of the important people in their lives.
- It favors the satisfaction of self-realization needs. The effect of meditation on increasing self-realization, understood as the development of inner potential, is markedly greater than that of other forms of “relaxation.”
- It improves mental and physical health, as evidenced by the functional changes discovered in the brain and immune system.
The Basic skills to develop
In order for you to obtain these benefits, it is important that your mindfulness practice is oriented to the development of three basic skills:
- Temporary cessation of mental suffering: The same act of intentionally bringing consciousness to what is happening in the present moment, implies “occupying space” in the same channel of limited capacity that has been filled with thoughts referring to the past or the future. So while this is not the ultimate goal, it can provide a temporary substitute for ruminant thinking. Mental suffering ceases temporarily, giving the mind and body a rest.
- Observation of the mind: When we observe the activity of our own mind, the “observer” or “witness” in us arises. The observer realizes that it cannot be observed and that thoughts are just thoughts, not facts. Therefore, it distances itself from the mental contents (thoughts, emotions) that it observes.
- Experiencing the connection between the mind and the body: The person who meditates discovers that their bodily sensations are different depending on the state of mind they are experiencing. In this way, we may ne able to experience the connection between the mind and the body, and how the body expresses thoughts and emotions.