We all feel like we’re stumble through life at times. It’s our default human nature to focus on things outside of ourselves, often worrying about the future or regretting the past. What can get lost in that flurry of experiences and emotions is our present.

You’ve probably heard about how mindfulness can help create a path towards wellbeing. But you can probably imagine a judgemental relative, that surly uncle or obnoxious aunt, scoffing at terms like “being present” or “being open,” dismissing them outright as flakey new-age nonsense. Honestly, we’re sad some people feel that way, because they’re missing out on a lot.

Mindfulness is real and it’s scientifically proven to have profound, life-changing benefits, from managing stress, forming better habits and learning to kick bad ones, to overcoming anxiety, depression and eating disorders, along with a whole host of others difficulties. How? By helping you create new conscious intentions, connecting with your own emotions, and reshaping your own experience. You can check out our article here to find out more about the the science and benefits of guided breathing and mindfulness.

So what is mindfulness anyways?

Put simply, mindfulness is paying attention.

“Pfft, I do that all the time!” you might say. “This is dumb!”

Okay, friend. Sure, it sounds simple, and it is, but simple and easy are two different things. Think about any time you’ve struggled to fall asleep because your mind just wouldn’t shut the hell up!

Oh yeah, mindfulness can help you get the good night’s sleep you so desperately need too!

“Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.”

Mindfulness is a skill, a way of experiencing yourself and the world around you in the here and now. Jon Kabat-Zin, who was instrumental in bringing the idea of mindfulness to Western culture in the 1970’s, defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose, to something in the present, non-judgmentally”.

Mindfulness is a relatively new idea in Western culture, but it has been practiced within South and East Asian religions for millennia, most notably within Buddhism, Daoism (also spelled Taoism) and Hinduism. One of my favourite insights from Lao Tzu reads:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

I would like to invite you to take a moment and really take experience that wisdom.

Breathe in.

Be in the present.

Breathe out.

See? You’re doing it!

The scientific community that studies mindfulness uses a very specific definition, because, as you might imagine, scientists like to keep their research consistent. They say:

“Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.”

You’ll notice this definition is more operational, which is exactly right. It’s an activity; a state of mind. You can do it while meditating, you can do it while trying to sleep, you can do it while eating, and you can do it while making love.

We know the power of mindfulness can help others, which is why we’ve made it a key part of what we do here at DiveThru. By starting each one of our conversations by focusing on the breath and opening ourselves to the present moment, we connect within ourselves to allow the emotions to present themselves to us, and to reflect on them without judgement. By learning this simple – albeit challenging – technique, we hope we can help you master this skill and live life connected.

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