What is mindfulness?

Okay, I’ve been hearing a lot about mindfulness. Is this a new buzzword? What on earth does it really mean?!

I’m one of those people that likes to be busy, because when I’m not busy, I get bored. And if I’m bored, I feel like I should be doing something (get my vicious cycle?). Relaxing and re-energizing for me is participating in team sports, like hockey or baseball. So when someone talks about mindfulness, I secretly roll my eyes – I’m just not that kind of person.

Then one day, I caught myself taking deep breaths as I approached the elevator at work. It’s actually part of my daily routine to get geared up for my other job…parenting (lol!). Could this be mindfulness? I wasn’t sure, but I became a lot more curious about it.

I soon discovered that mindfulness is about training your attention; learning to direct our attention to unfolding experiences with an open-mind, curiosity and acceptance.

Then a light bulb went on. I already do this a lot! I just didn’t know I was practising “mindfulness”.  I refocus my wandering mind all the time! Over the years I’ve trained myself to stop and just enjoy the conversation or situation that I’m in. I never knew this was mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a life skill that can be learned through practice. It’s purposely paying attention to things as they happen. We learn to direct our attention – to be more focused – be it through our breathing, the sensations in our body, the activity in our mind, and everyday activities such as walking and eating.

Don’t fret if it doesn’t come easily – it’s not supposed to. With practice and time you can learn to get rid of negative thoughts, judgements and impulses and make way for calm, helpful thinking.

I’m so glad that I can still be busy and find time for mindfulness…and now I’m being more intentional about it! I hope to help my kids learn mindfulness by role-modelling for them and providing them with some meditation exercises and deep-breathing. We all know how stressed out kids can be and I know this can help them.

Do you have any mindfulness techniques you want to share with us?

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Cynthia Lindsay RN

Hi everyone. My name is Cynthia Lindsay and I work as a public health nurse with the school years program. I've been a nurse for almost 20 years (wow time flies!) with the last 10 years focused on what I've discovered to be my passion... Parenting. I now have many parenting accreditations and enjoy connecting with parents in the community through Triple P, parenting groups & social media. "Je parle aussi le français" and I love working, making connections, and raising my teen son & pre-teen daughter with my hubby in Halton.
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