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What Is Mindfulness, And Why Is It Important?

by Linda M Latt 8 months ago in self help
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I froze with fear. I wanted to disappear.

Photo by Anthony from Pexels

I was quiet, shy, and simply uncomfortable around most people or in new situations from a very early age.

I was a watcher of people and my surroundings and drawn to the outside, nature, and animals. Curling up with a book made me happy.

As an adult, I learned it was sometimes necessary to step outside of myself and the things that made me comfortable. Doing so did not make me happy.

It gave me the heebie-jeebies.

For me, that was the feeling of panic when you freeze like you have turned into a block of ice and would do anything to run away and disappear.

Go to a meeting, a business function, and talk to people I did not know? What, you want me to network? Holy Hell. Not Me.

It soon became apparent that I would have to change, loosen up, and put myself out there. It was vital if I wanted to succeed in my chosen career.

Bummer, that was not what I wanted. Just let me be an introvert. Maybe I should be a writer?

When I walked into a room filled with people knowing the powers that be (you know, the ones who wrote my paycheck) wanted me to glide around that room, smile, shake hands, and talk with people I did not know.

I thought I would vomit.

It felt like someone had lit me on fire internally and I was about to turn into a fireball. I hoped it would be a fast burn and my ashes would float to the floor. They could clean up the mess afterward. A vacuum works great.

It was an internal battle for me. I cannot say that I conquered my fear. I gingerly dipped my toe into the pool of my angst and slowly made progress.

I was even able to do public speaking. That I enjoyed. Crazy, right? It was the face-to-face that made me squirm inside. A sales call was the bane of my existence.

You are probably wondering how the practice of mindfulness has anything to do with any of this.

Let's take a look at the definition of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

I had the first part right. I was fully present, aware of where I was and what I was doing.

I had a real problem with the second part of the definition.

Inside I was over-reactive and felt frozen. I was focused on my fear.

I needed to change my focus. When we are overwhelmed, our minds race helter-skelter, and we lose our perspective.

When I was experiencing all this angst, it was in the 1990s.

The term "Mindfulness" as we know it now was just starting to be recognized. There was widespread interest in meditation and Mindfulness developing, and in the 2000s, the interest increased dramatically.

Mindfulness became an "it" word. There were references everywhere.

Most everyone now knows the term, has read an article, taken a class, or practiced meditation.

All the hoopla, or commotion, happened as I was retiring and left behind all the accumulated angst of networking. It was too late to help me.

I wish I had been aware of Mindfulness and how I could have incorporated it into my learning.

Knowing would have eliminated so much work-related stress. If I had applied the practice of Mindfulness I believe I would have been more successful in every aspect of my life.

Luckily for you and me, Mindfulness is a quality that everyone can learn.

Let's take another look at the definition.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed.

We all possess mindfulness. We sense things happening around us and respond to them through our thoughts and emotions.

It is part of our learning process.

Think of a baby or small child. How do they learn? They learn by being mindful of the events taking place in their environment.

We all do. Babies and young children are naturally better at mindfulness than adults. They do not judge what is happening around them because they have not learned to do so yet. They have natural curiosity.

Babies are open to everything until we teach them not to be.

As we grow and learn, we lose our natural curiosity. We become judgmental, and we close ourselves off.

We learn to be fearful of new experiences and emotions and limit our mental growth.

How do we learn Mindfulness?

There are many sources available to help learn how to be mindful. You can take a retreat, read books, watch videos.

But Mindfulness has such value and is free to learn without any gimmicks. There is no need to buy anything.

It is challenging to clear your mind completely and it is unnecessary to do so.

The goal is to pay attention to the present moment without any judgment, and it is not easy to do.

Our minds naturally wander. Mindfulness means realizing that your thoughts have shifted and your mind has wandered on to something else.

Being able to realize and, the best part, bring our mind back to the present moment is being mindful.

Better yet is when we develop the ability to do so over and over again.

The eureka part of Mindfulness is learning how we look at things and react to them. Personally, this brings me right back to my fears of networking.

I allowed my mind to go to that response over and over. I did feel frozen, and my mind was locked in that environment.

Mindfulness in its truest beauty allows you to acknowledge when your negative thoughts take over and not react to them.

It pulls you back to the present moment allowing you to develop and learn.

Mindfulness is part of all of us. It is a part of how we learn.

Think of it as a tool you use, A FREE tool. You do not have to pay for a new gadget. Mindfulness is something you already have.

Spend a little bit of time in a very beneficial way, learning about yourself and how your mind works, developing and enhancing a skill you already have.

It will be worth it.

Something new to help you learn:

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

This is a newer practice combining meditation and Mindfulness and involves deep breathing and becoming aware of your body and mind.

I discovered this practice while doing research, and I like the concept. It is simplified and requires less time.

All you need is a comfortable place, preferably comfortable clothes, and three to five minutes. It will also help to have a clear mind, one free of judgment.

For more information, you can read that article online. Just copy and paste the address below.

https://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-meditation-88369#:~:text=Mindfulness%20meditation%20is%20a%20mental%20training%20practice%20that,negativity%2C%20and%20calm%20both%20your%20mind%20and%20body.

self help

About the author

Linda M Latt

Writing about the things that interest or intrigue me, what I love and what stirs my emotions.

You can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Medium with more to follow as I start a blog and expand my horizons.

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