Why do I practice mindfulness?
For the benefits of stillness
When I sit and practice mindful meditation, some days it feels easy and effortless and on other days it feels like a struggle. However the practice goes, I find undeniable benefits of just bring stillness and quiet to my body (even if my mind is not cooperating!) just for 20 minutes each day.
I spend less time on the runaway train of negative thoughts
We all have negative automatic thoughts. Mindfulness trains us to notice the thoughts before becoming lost in them or carried away by them. When I am aware of my thoughts, I can question their validity or choose a different (more helpful) thought, therefore reducing my stress response.
I have more compassion for myself and others
Compassion is at the core of mindfulness practice. Judgement of ourselves and others causes suffering. Mindfulness involves noticing what is happening without judgement or criticism.
I know that challenging times will pass
Through mindfulness I am beginning to develop a sense of acceptance and allowing during difficult times. Staying present during stressful times helps us to stop catastrophising about the future.
I savour the good times more because I know that these will pass too
We tend to dwell on unhappy events for a long time, whilst the good times go by unnoticed. Through practicing mindfulness I have learned to savour good times like holidays, nice meals and time with family or friends without worrying about it coming to end (which it inevitably will).
I could continue with this list but these are the main benefits of my mindfulness practice. As my practice grows so does the presence, peace, compassion, gentleness, acceptance and contentment in my day to day life. Life seems to flow more easily with less resistance. My hope is that more and more people can experience these benefits through sharing the practice.
Debbie Sutherland teaches mindfulness classes and works with her friend Amy Bartle to run the successful Rest and Relax evenings at Yoga at the Reach on Eccelsall Road, Sheffield, S11. In addition to training to teach mindfulness, she is also an experienced Reiki teacher.