Introduction - mindfulness defined

La Trobe Counselling Service

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Mindfulness is a well-researched and popular topic in Western psychology, increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress and manage your mind. Mindfulness will undermine destructive emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

Mindfulness is a skill to practice, it is not about finding the time or amount of time, it is simply doing it within your everyday that matters. There are many ways to do mindfulness. Mindfulness is cultivated by paying attention, on purpose and carefully - to the contents of this moment in a friendly and allowing way.

Although mindfulness is difficult to define, here are some ways to conceptualise it:

  • Mindfulness means paying attention with flexibility, openness and curiosity
  • Mindfulness is about developing the skill for being more present rather than living in the past or the future.
  • It is about learning how to change the habits of inattention and distraction and how to stay in the present moment
  • Mindfulness involves consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience
  • John Kabat-Zinn, a world authority on the use of mindfulness, defines it as ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally’. It is the ‘art of conscious living'.

Some of the benefits of doing mindfulness helps you in the following ways:

  • You can experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings safely
  • Become less reactive to unpleasant experiences
  • To improve concentration and memory
  • It will help you to manage pain better
  • Learn that everything changes; that thoughts and feelings come and go like the weather
  • You will experience more calm and peacefulness
  • Mindfulness will help you develop self-acceptance and self-compassion.

Finally, mindfulness is about waking up, connecting with ourselves and appreciating the fullness of each moment of life. It is a profound way to enhance psychological and emotional resilience and increase life satisfaction.

The Counselling Services Department has put together a Mindfulness CD to aid our La Trobe University students to begin engaging in mindfulness practice. We will talk you through each exercise. Each exercise will begin with the sound of the bells purely for starting out your mindfulness practice. So let’s begin your journey of mindfulness practice.

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