What is Mindfulness?
In a few of my posts I have already referred to the concept of "Mindfulness" and it seems important that I define what this is.
Mindfulness is the focused attention on the present moment without judgment. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Mindfulness means living your life fully, rather than focusing on the past or the future and missing the present.
So many of us suffer from from anxiety, which by definition is not being mindful. Anxiety is worry about the future, or even the past, that takes us away from the present. Mindfulness, thus, has the capacity to rid us of plaguing anxiety if we can only stay in the present moment. It also improves concentration, decreases depression, and increases the impression of having a satisfied life.
However, mindfulness is not something that is easily just done! It takes dedicated practice and training of the mind. I have found that simple reminders throughout the day work well to remind me to practice--the sound of a bell, brushing my teeth, the first sip of coffee in the morning. Anything can serve as a reminder if only you use it to shift your focus to that very thing, in the moment.
We can learn mindfulness at any age, however it is so important to teach the youth of today this skill. It is now sometimes being taught in schools, however, it is imperative that all schools offer this important skill. This skill can be learned through connection with an animal or simply nature and the land. At Deerfield Farm we are offering a mindfulness course for youth taught through experiential obstacles. (See the Weekend Workshops for Youth).