“Mindfulness means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”(Thich Nhat Hanh)
How often do you say to yourself: “If only I could have reacted differently…. Why am I so stupid? I should have known better!” Being self-critical is something we human beings are very good at. We criticise the things we do, the things we say and how we react to things that happen in our lives.
Unfortunately, this can lead to all sorts of negative outcomes; we feel stressed, anxious, depressed, self-conscious and insecure. So how can mindfulness meditation help?
Being mindful implies an ability to be with your moment-by-moment experiences in a non-judgemental manner. You embrace your experience in each moment exactly as it is, without trying to change it. This is not to say that you allow yourself to do whatever you like without considering the consequences of your actions, but you learn to be more kind and compassionate towards yourself.
Bringing acceptance and compassion into present-moment experiences makes it easier not to react automatically out of old habits. Instead of being on “automatic pilot” you notice the thoughts and emotions that occur and consciously choose how to respond to them. You are fully aware of your experience in that moment.
Being mindful is a psychological skill that you can develop through practice and it is usually done through some form of meditation training. It helps you prevent stress and anxiety, you feel more relaxed and spontaneous, and more at ease with who you are. Mindfulness simply makes you feel better!