We hear quite often around us the term mindfulness, and over the past few days it has happened even more than usual due to social media. The fact that I almost ended reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's "Mindfulness for Beginners" made me take finish this article this article. My first interaction with this subject was about 4 years. I was going through a rather difficult time, where I had a lot of questions and only few answers, insomnia, and a very acute state of nervousness. One of my friends a psychologist, invited me to an event in which she presented what is meaningfulness and what is it use in our agitated life. To understand how on the side I was with nerves, I began to cry of frustration when I could not find the address, even though I was using the GPS. I called the host to tell her I was not coming! Somehow she managed to get to me and persuade me to listen to her direction to the address. I was near the block ... I got there, listen a little about what mindfulness means and how with this Buddhist tradition you can reduce stress.

But what is actually "Mindfulness"? - is a person's ability to be present "now, here". Paying attention to who you are and what you are doing, without letting your mind be reactive or overwhelmed by other thoughts or the things around. It's simple, right? Not quite! Attention is a muscle that can be trained, just like the one of public speaking or active listening. After a few games and exercises, I felt at ease. Not being the meditation type (unless the over-analysis of the life and the things I have done or said is a type of meditation;)), I said ”pass” to the second part of the event. Yes, my friend - at the mindfulness circle, she also learned how to meditate for those that want to take a step in that direction. Somehow that experience opened my eyes and I searched a lot on the subject - articles, opinions and talked with the people around me - all this a recipe for resting my mind and finding my sleep.

After reading a number of magazine articles, blogs dealing with the subject, I realized that there was really nothing exotic and that everyone practiced this at a certain level - it's called attention. It's an intimate thing with you and yourself, and it only involves your desire to enjoy moments at their fair value. So, there was no need for a major change in my life, just some practice to keep my mind close when it wants to take a stroll and keep my attention on his work or on the person next to me. Hard thing to do for a person that spends a lot of time in her head analysing every moment. Education for being "here, now" gives you the freedom for innovation, and by organizing thoughts avoiding (in a discussion, or in an action) your mind to fly:
- did I pay the bill;
- I have to send that mail, as well;
- do not forget to call mom
helps you both at the time management part and to avoid the stress that you have to do a lot of things at the same time.

Another thing you will train if you're going to be present in the present is avoiding labels and assumptions. Because mindfulness is about keeping your moment-by-moment attention on the thoughts, feelings, sensations that your body perceives, what is happening around you. That implies acceptance, and the fact that you will give the feelings and thoughts attention without judging them, removing the thought that it is "bad" or that is "good". You focus on the present, not to relive your past or to imagine your future, leaving no room for assumtions.

What brought me the practice of attention? First of all, I began to remember the names of people - a stress in minus. Can concentrate on what I do for a longer period of time - being anchored in reality. I managed to organize myself much better, in terms of time, of what I do and how to do it, effective. I am more attentive to others and the way they are or aren't present. Do not imagine that I have reached the level of someone who has been doing this for 10 years, but I manage to keep my attention for up to 45 minutes on a topic without the need to do an exercise to recall my mind in being present.

If what I have written up to you seems interesting and you want to try it at least a while to see if there is any benefit for you, a simple method is breathing. If you notice that your mind wonders, breathe for 7 seconds on inspiration, takes 7 seconds and then expire for 7 seconds. Focus your thoughts on the air-flow, the way you hear the things around. By concentrating on you, you are bringing your attention back to here now and now. Which means returning attention to what you had to do or to the person you have to talk to.

Another thing you will be doing if you're going to be present today is avoiding labels and assumptions. Because mindfulness is about keeping your moment-by-moment attention on the thoughts, feelings, sensations you perceive.