Key to Inner Peace
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that concentrates on accepting conscious presence, awareness. It is a way to notice and come back to this exact moment. (CFM nd.) People tend to worry about the past and the future without being able to concentrate on the moment. To put it short, mindfulness means being aware and being present. Mindfulness is known to help for depression, anxiety, stress and pain but it is also a key for happier, more relaxed and more aware style of living. It is a skill for everybody beyond age, sex or stress level. It has been discovered that exercising mindfulness can promote physical wellbeing and boosts one’s immune system. With different exercises you will learn to listen to your body and it’s needs and learn how your mind works. Different exercises can also help you to recognize different feelings and to accept those as they are. With practice mindfulness can become part of one’s lifestyle apart from doing specific exercises from time to time. But to begin with, breathing exercises are usually the way to go. (Mieli nd.)
Roots of mindfulness goes way back for thousands of years. It comes from eastern meditation traditions. Mindfulness started to incorporate into western world in 1970, when American Jon Kabat-Zinn found a stress management program for children suffering from chronic diseases and pain. The program has been studied a lot and outcomes have been outstanding. (mieli nd.) Kabat-Zinn studied mindfulness with several Buddhist teachers and with that knowledge he was able to develop Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. The integration of Western science with an Eastern foundation that MBSR was, helped mindfulness gain a wide popularity in the West. (Selva 2020.)
Mindfulness has many benefits such as:
- increasing creativity and positive mindset
- improving learning abilities and memory
- developing social skills
- helping to manage stress
- decreasing different physical and mental symptoms
Mindfulness is used mainly in psychophysical physiotherapy but should be taken into a consideration in every physiotherapy session. It is a very vital and useful tool that helps patients to feel empowered. Jagunath Selvanathan wrote as a final assignment on Physiopedia Volunteer Orientation Course how he had learned how influential mindfulness was in treating patients. The use of mindfulness and the breathing techniques specifically helped the patients to manage their pain. Many of the patients reported the pain improving when carrying out different mindfulness methods. (Buxton 2019.)
Awareness can be learned and developed with different exercises. Most typical ones are breathing exercises and ones focusing on sensory perception. Purpose of the exercises is to relax and acknowledge own feelings but the difference with normal relaxing exercises is that mindfulness helps patient to open up to exact moment and be present. (Nyyti nd.) Here are few examples of the exercises:
1) Take a comfortable and relaxed position that allows you to keep a good posture. Close your eyes and listen, how your body feels at the moment. Can you feel pressure, tightness or lightness in your body parts? Can you sense positive or negative feelings in your body? If so, where and how do they differ?
There is no need to change or suppress those feelings. All you need to do is accept them as they are. You can continue doing this exercise as long as it takes to become accepting towards the feelings.
2) Try to keep as good of a posture as possible while staying relaxed. Close your eyes and notice your breathing. There is no need to change your breathing in any way, but to notice it. How does breathing feel and where can you feel it? Where can you notice the breathing movement? If you catch your thoughts starting to escape, gently return them back to observe your breathing.
3) Observe your surroundings neutrally. Look for different shapes, colors and lights. Try not to analyze these observations. Concentrate on where you are objectively and become aware of how much your sight can gather information at once. Remember, where you are and feel the ground beneath your feet. Is it stable? At this exact moment you are safe and everything is okay.
Try it, you won’t regret it. You can bring mindfulness into your life bit by bit and after a while it may be, that you won’t be needing specific exercises to be aware of yourself and your surroundings.
Buxton, S. 2019. Mindfulness and Physiotherapy. Luettu 28.10.20. https://www.physiospot.com/research/mindfulness-and-physiotherapy/
Center for Mindflness Finland. N.D. Mindfulness.Luettu 29.10.2020. https://mindfulness.fi
Nyyti ry. N.D. Mitä mindfulness on? Luettu 27.10.2020. https://www.nyyti.fi/opiskelijoille/opi-elamantaitoa/rentoudu-paivittain/mita-mindfulness-on/
Selva, J. 2020. History of Mindfulness: From East to West and Religion to Science. Luettu 28.10.2020. https://positivepsychology.com/history-of-mindfulness/
Suomen Mielenterveys ry. N.D. Mitä ovat mindfulness – tietoisuustaidot? Luettu 27.10.2020. https://mieli.fi/fi/mielenterveys/hyvinvointi/mitä-ovat-mindfulness-tietoisuustaidot