You are listening to a friend talk about her day when all of sudden you realize that you haven’t been listening at all! You were carried away by a random thought and missed what she had said. You take a breath and, without judgment, return your awareness back to the present moment and kindly ask your friend to repeat herself. Well done, you’ve just been mindful! Practicing mindfulness does not mean that you are perfectly aware at all times, rather that you are able to non-judgmentally bring your mind back to the present moment time and time again, strengthening your focus and your presence to your own life and connection and to others.
Mindfulness can be understood as the act of paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, non-judgmentally. Although this may sound simple, integrating mindfulness into your life can take a great deal of practice and self- compassion. However, thebenefits of mindfulness are many.
Broad Benefits of a Mindfulness Practice
Reduce Suffering and Increase Happiness
Increase Control of Your Mind
Experience Reality as It Is
Is Mindfulness the Same as Meditation?
Sometimes we can hear people use the term meditation and mindfulness interchangeably. It can be helpful to understand the difference. Meditation is a way in which we can practice becoming more mindful. Having a daily meditation practice helps train the brain to be more present and strengthen the concepts of observing, focusing and letting go of judgment.
If you’re looking to start your mindfulness practice through meditation there are many supports and resources to help you both online and in the Toronto area to help you get started.
How Mindfulness Can Be Useful in the Counselling Experience
During therapy people are often encouraged to explore thoughts and emotions. By being non-judgmentally aware of your thinking and feelings your experience of therapy may deepen, allowing for more insights, emotional processing and self-compassion.