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How Mindfulness Works

How Mindfulness Works. Its simple really.

All that Mindfulness means is being present for your life. When you’re mindful, you know what’s actually happening right now without getting lost in the stories and drama our mind is continually creating. Often, we aren’t even aware that we are ‘driven unconsciously’ by the story our mind is telling us. The first step in Mindfulness is to become aware… 

How Mindfulness Works

What Participants of Courses Say…

“I realised a lot… about small things that will make a big difference in my life – that I am not my thoughts, how to connect to what’s really going on in me, how to cultivate stillness and calm and how to tap into my creativity. I am finding glimpses of joy in the most ordinary things… the light, my son, nature. Silence opens everything up and I feel I have reconnected with my core self.” – MBSR participant

How Mindfulness Works – it teaches us to stay Present

We ground ourselves  in actual experience or Being Present and conscious and wake up from confusion. We notice how much attention wanders and how often we operate on ‘automatic pilot’.  We practice coming back to the breath, each time we notice the mind wandering. There are a couple of reasons why this returning to the breath is so effective.  Physiologically, when we place our attention on the breath, it automatically slows and deepens. This stimulates the vagus nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This lowers stress, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and calms you down. Psychologically, when you intentionally move your attention to the breath, you break free of the ‘story in the head’ and are fully in the present.

Your attention needs to be in the past to ruminate; to worry, you need to be in the future. However, when you are fully in the present, you are temporarily free from rumination and worry. That’s like letting go of a lot of angst even for a couple of seconds, giving yourself some mental and emotional rest and a chance to re-balance. For decades, sports people have understood the importance of being able to intentionally reset body and mind; it is how they can sustain high performance for long periods.

How Mindfulness Works – its weakens our demons and Frees us

When you are present and aware, you step back and see thoughts and feelings as they arise rather than being sucked into the content.

Seeing clearly and naming our disturbing mind states as they arise, “oh, this is fear” or “my mind is really agitated right now”, “there is boredom there” is actually the first step in weakening the power of negative thinking patterns which sabotage us.

When we stay present and observe these thought / feeling patterns clearly, we’re not feeding them by either getting lost in the story or blaming ourselves for having them. We notice that they come uninvited. We don’t choose rage in or anxiety or confusion.  They just appear and change like the Irish weather. So, it does not make sense to blame and judge ourselves harshly.

When we see all of our difficult mind and heart states simply as strongly conditioned patterns of thinking that we have been practicing all of our lives, we shine the light of awareness on them.

“I am so glad I found this course. It has already changed my life! Just everyday things like home and family relationships, my work, how I see and relate to myself, how I spend my free time… Before, I was impatient. I missed so much and mis-understood even more. Now, I stop, settle myself and savor the ‘precious moments’.  The daily practice has fostered a calmness and peace of mind in me that is new.” Feedback from participant – MBSR / MBCT Course

How Mindfulness Works – empowers you to Respond instead of react

We notice the mind continually trying to pull our attention into the stream of thought. We practice just staying aware of a thought as a thought (mental event like a cloud) and let it pass and choose to maintain attention in the body / with the breath. We do not react to thoughts / feelings with fear or judgment (which only strengthens them more) and we begin to notice that they loose their power over us. We realise that thoughts come and go and we don’t take them so seriously or personally.

I learned how to put distance between cause and reaction, I can now stop and breath and choose my response. I’m not striving and list making, if things don’t get done, no problem! I learned self compassion and the skills to breath and relax. Loved every minute of the Mindfulness course.” –  MSC participant

How Mindfulness Works – it’s great to appreciate life

How Mindfulness Works

Mindfulness attunes us to notice more and be unconsciously driven less. This opens up a whole new world!

As we are wired for survival rather than for happiness our ‘default’ mode is to give more attention to things that triggers our ‘threat’ system rather than experiences we enjoy or the ones that lift our hearts. So, the practice of noticing and cultivating awareness of positive states is important. We tend to find what we look for. By noticing the good stuff and inclining towards appreciation, we let it in and give it more life.

Where attention goes, energy flows

We remember what we love; we remember what is really important to us. This is key to awakening our joy: feeling gladness, noticing the heart lift, the lightness in our bodies the spaciousness in our minds.

Why not try and test this for yourself?

Powerful Course! I feel like I have woken up from a coma and am seeing everything – myself and the whole world with new eyes”   –  MSC participant

How Mindfulness Works – we connect with a deeper sense of self

Being in a state of alert awareness enables us to sense and appreciate the aliveness pervading our bodies and the life all around us. We discover the stillness and spaciousness inside and reconnect with our essence deeply. It feels powerful, like coming home, not to “the story of me” but a deeper dimension. This frees us from believing our personal history is who we are. We realise that we are bigger, spacious awareness.

How Mindfulness Works

How Mindfulness Works – Present for our life.

As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

By bringing our attention to the present moment, mindfulness re-activates the natural wonder and awe innate in all of us. We discover the sublime in the ordinary. We notice all the little magic moments. Participants of courses affirm this over and over. They notice the miraculous beauty of the light in the sky or the joy of their children’s laughter… it is always the most ordinary events that strike the deepest chords…

Mostly, we miss the richness because we rush past it, “with more important things on our minds”!!! But, when we take time, life becomes more vivid and fulfilling. Everything comes more alive.

Words cannot express how much your wonderful teaching has enriched my life. I am looking at everything with new eyes and have a huge appreciation for life and living. You truly have a gift in the kind and compassionate manner you deliver your training.  –  MBSR participant

Check this out for yourself…

This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness at Work. Most people find that they need to attend a Mindfulness Course for support / guidance in training their attention. We offer ‘Transformational’ Mindfulness Training that empowers people to function more effectively in Workplaces and Public Courses (Blackrock, Dublin).

For more information

Please don’t hesitate to contact Joanne if you have any query?


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