One of the most popular words around nowadays is mindfulness. It seems to have replaced the more commonplace awareness and perhaps that’s the problem; awareness is more commonplace!
But what does mindfulness mean? There are several definitions.
On one level, the definition is “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.” By the time I read that, I was exhausted.
Alternatively, and keeping things simple, the definition of the word from the Oxford Dictionary is:
1. the fact of remembering somebody/something and considering them/it when you do something
2. a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax
You will note that number two has similarities with the earlier definition but is much easier to understand. They both relate to inner calm and self-awareness,
Synonyms for mindfulness.
When you look for synonyms for mindfulness this is one of the lists you will generate:
In reality, if you perform the same exercise for the word Awareness, you will find they are mutually interchangeable in meaning. So why has mindfulness, to all intents and purpose, replaced Awareness. Is it because mindfulness is the new buzz word and because its use is relatively new, is more deep and meaningful? Really?!
Awareness and what it does for you:
Physically; making various lifestyle choices you can lower your blood pressure, improve your heart rate, maintain a constant and comfortable weight, reduce the symptoms of arthritis, and sharpen your brain.
Mentally; again, making various lifestyle choices you can increase your mental capacity, sharpen your thought processes, improve your clarity, and increase your cognitive abilities.
Emotionally; lifestyle choices again help you to lower your stress levels, learn to build a bridge and get over it, start accepting your are responsible for your life, increase your good endorphins, learn to think with your heart.
The List of 12 things you can do right now to raise your awareness:
Live in the Moment. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, be aware of this moment in time;
Turn off your Phone. Leave it at home or in your bag. Remember life before mobile phones?!
Eat well. Good, fresh food three times a day
Make your day more simple. Don’t fill it with extraneous matter; travel smoothly.
Sleep. 8 hours a night. Naturally
Laugh More. In fact, laugh a lot!
Stop Worrying. Whatever you fear may or may not happen, the world won’t stop turning.
Open Your Heart to all that’s on offer. The clouds in the sky, the sun, the green grass, smiling faces around you … be aware.
Love. Just love …
Be positive. Be a full-to-overflowing-glass-of-water person.
Find Peace. Create it yourself; from within.
Meditate. You don’t have to, but it works and ties in with the meaning of both awareness and mindfulness.
The point of all this is that, as far as I’m concenred, mindfulness has become a woo woo word for awareness. If we were all more aware of all that we have and all that is around us, life would be simpler and more pleasant.
A couple of books you may like are Emotional Intelligence which contains 21 ways to improve your self-awareness and 25 Ways to a Happier Healthier You which is all about awareness. Or perhaps read about 5 ways to become happier here and how your diet affects the way you think here.