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Forums / Staying well / Mindfulness: What Is It? (Even if you dont know please post so we can help grow the forums accordingly)

Topic: Mindfulness: What Is It? (Even if you dont know please post so we can help grow the forums accordingly)

  1. blondguy
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    13 September 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim!

    Thankyou for helping me out with that one....I was stuck yet now I understand

    Just a note re 'mindfulness' I hope that some health professionals stop mentioning mindfulness as a coping mechanism when the recipient has no idea what the word actually means. To offer health advice presuming the sufferer understands can leave a person confused not to mention bewildered

    You have assisted many people (including the OP!) have a better understanding of mindfulness Tim

    Nice1

    Paul

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  2. geoff
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    14 September 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim, if you are a Christian then Mindfulness and Mediation would certainly be valid for you, that's why you go to Church to pray and also do at home or other areas, I'm not religious, so I find this difficult to accept and I by no means do I want to upset anybody who is religious, but Mindfulness to some, is just paying attention to thoughts, feelings and behaviour which you may pray for.

    Mediation can be like wanting an old friend that to turn to, when in need of direction, inspiration, and support, maybe or maybe not, everyone has their own opinion, but this is a site for mental illness and not an avenue for religion.

    If you believe in a religion then I acknowledge that and have no qualms at all, I have many friends who believe in some sort of religion, just as they should know where I stand, if they start preaching to me, then I show them the door, they have their beliefs, just as I do.

    There are plenty of religious sites online to worship, but please leave it off this site.

    Geoff.

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  3. smallwolf
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    14 September 2021 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff.

    I was not trying to put out a view that was pro-anything. We each have to find our own practice that works for us when it comes to something like mindfulness. In fact I do not think I have ever promoted any religious concept on the site here either. As for Christianity and mindfulness going hand in hand is false. In fact I was scared when I started that journey with my psychologist if anyone found out!

    Now here is what works for me ... Coffee and mindfulness. In summary, the life of the bean, of watering, going from the producer to my home. The making of the coffee. The aroma. The feel. The sight when pouring in milk. The taste. The engaging of all my senses. And for those few minutes while I have my coffee I am not bothered by anyone, anywhere.

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  4. blondguy
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    15 September 2021 in reply to geoff

    Hi Everyone...New posters are always welcome too!

    Hey Geoff....thankyou always for being a part of the discussion with your life experience. Just a polite note if thats okay....On the last page Tim asked ' I have own thoughts re religion and mindfulness. Let me know if you want to listen to my thoughts' I posted back to Tim that it would be fine.. Tim actually helped the thread from stalling after David & Goliaths confusing and deeply religious post which was way off topic

    my kindest thoughts

    Paul

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  5. blondguy
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    15 September 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    Hey Tim

    Thankyou Tim for your balanced support here and across the forums

    Just a note re 'mindfulness' I wish some health professionals would stop mentioning 'mindfulness' as a coping mechanism presuming the recipient magically understands what it means. I grow weary of this automated response

    Tim mentioned an excellent example of mindfulness in his post to Geoff which I have copied and pasted below

    'Coffee and mindfulness. In summary, the life of the bean, of watering, going from the producer to my home. The making of the coffee. The aroma. The feel. The sight when pouring in milk. The taste. The engaging of all my senses. And for those few minutes while I have my coffee I am not bothered by anyone, anywhere'

    That is the exact same 'peace of mind' I experience when I am landscaping/gardening. There is no concept of time and am devoid of any other thoughts/interference during that period

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

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  6. geoff
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    16 September 2021 in reply to blondguy

    Hello Paul, I quite agree with you, because it too frustrates me when someone says to me to Mindfulness is a coping mechanism, but how can someone with a mental illness be aware of their thoughts, emotions, and how they are feeling when their focus is on a specific topic and can't get their mind away from this and even if they can temporarily as soon as they are removed from this so called Mindfulness, they suddenly go back to how they were feeling and no better off.

    The definition of it is to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you're doing, and not overly reactive
    or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you, try explaining that to a person who is having a terrible day, it certainly makes no sense, but it may if you're not suffering from any type of depression.

    The number of times I've been told to go and pray 'for solution, for salvation', this will then show me a path for redemption, how can it if the world is in turmoil because all your mind is thinking about is the past, what's happened and it's impossible to begin to think about, because all your mind is focused on overcoming something that's already happened and as soon as you leave doing this exercise, back you go to where you were.

    Daydreaming can't possibly happen if your mind is not capable of believing the positives in life, so how many people have done Mindfulness and won tattslotto, it's only the luck of the draw and nothing else.

    Geoff.

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  7. missep123
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    16 September 2021 in reply to geoff

    Hi everyone,

    A random mindfulness technique I was thinking about was counting backwards from ten when I am stressed.

    This is something I have actually taken from how people help those with a fear of flying! Whenever there is turbulence they are told to count backwards to 'disrupt their thoughts'. I haven't practiced this much myself but I definitely want to

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  8. Sleepy21
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    16 September 2021 in reply to missep123

    hi missep123, well done on finding a technique that works!

    I've tried some groups for mindfulness, one was really triggering

    I don't like to think about it ! It has to be more than just putting ppl in a room and telling them to focus on their hands or a place....

    I found some of it deeply upsetting

    I like techniques that effectively slow down worrying, by returning my focus to something in the present

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  9. mmMekitty
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    17 September 2021

    I'm sorry I have not read through all this Thread, so I'm sorry if what I say has already been said.

    I am so easily distracted most of the time, except when I focus and get stuck in a train fof thought. Mindfulness for me, therefore, is simply to catch myself, & re-focus on the here and now. I do my best to notice what I am currently, that precise moment, see, touch, hear, touch, taste, smell, and even what I think and feel. It can be done even if you are in any way uncomfortable. I would prefer to be comfortable, but that is less ans less likely to be how I feel in any given moment. I can and do surprise myself sometimes, noting I am physically comfortable, just my tinitus never stops, my sight is always a mess. But sometimes, that does not even bother me, because the moments I am noticing are so short.

    I was told once, to take a single sultana, hold it between my thumb and forefinger, roll it a bit, squeeze it a bit, smell it, touch it with your tongue, then, put it on your tongue and rest. Then slowly, move it around your mouth. How different does it feel from when you held it? Feel the wrinkles? Can you taste anything yet? And then, slowly bite into it. Slowly chew. noting every sensation. And then, swallow.

    Now there is a mindfulness challenge for you! You can substitute any small bit of food, I guess.

    I think mindfulness exercises are useful because instead of cluttering up every moment, they help to declutter. When you restrict what you focus on, examining it or stopping and being with whatever can capture your attention, letting it hold you for a while - in a moment, is for me something to help me relax, be easy a bit.

    For me, being mindful is like trying to write Haiku, focusing on a small detail, like a raindrop sliding down a window.

    But could it also be a little controlled dissociation? mmmm There's something I need to think about.

    Lullabies are good playing through my racing head when I want to sleep instead, Focus on the music you can make in your own head. Alright, now I'm really off to bed.

    mmMekittymmzzzz

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  10. geoff
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    17 September 2021 in reply to missep123

    Hello Missep, counting backwards can be an exercise, because it relies on your awareness of breathing, people do it sitting in an aeroplane ready to take off, to reduce their anxiety, stress and worry, that's why a doctor r anybody else who's trained will ask you to sit down if you feel faint and take deep breathes.

    It's being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and how you're feeling both physically and mentally and believe it's also told for pregnant women, as I recall that's what the nurses said to my wife.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

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  11. blondguy
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    17 September 2021 in reply to mmMekitty

    Hi Everyone....new members are always welcome to post too!

    Hey mmMekitty ...Thankyou for being a part of the Beyond Blue family and sharing your life experience

    mmMekitty mentioned an excellent point where mindfulness is concerned....'I think mindfulness exercises are useful because instead of cluttering up every moment, they help to declutter'

    Nice1 👍

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

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  12. smallwolf
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    18 September 2021 in reply to blondguy

    Mindfulness is quite a broad topic and perhaps part of the confusion of "what it is" comes from the definition itself. You can google that.

    For example:

    1. "leaves on a stream" is an exercise in which you are sitting by a stream and putting your thoughts on leaf and accepting them as they flow down the stream.

    2. mindful eating is another example in which you focus on the object you are eating. And you might be distracted with your own thoughts but you then focus on the object you are eating mindfully.

    3. walking and looking for some things (eg rainbow walk) is also mindfulness. (even washing up can be a mindful activity!)

    each of the above example are all seen as mindful activities and yet are different. In the first example, it is allowing and accepting thoughts to come and go; in the second, it is focus on the thing you are eating at the time; and in the last there is physical activity and using eyes to find things.

    where mmMekitty talks about de-cluttering, this could also be taken as acceptance in putting the thought onto a leaf and letting it go down the stream.

    the act of reflecting on a post in this thread then could perhaps been considered a mindful activity itself.

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  13. smallwolf
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    18 September 2021 in reply to geoff
    To Geoff....

    Sorry to hear about the negative experiences you have had. Such comments are wrong and damaging.

    Secondly, mindfulness may not be for everyone. So I acknowledge that.

    You also mentioned "as soon as you leave doing this exercise, back you go to where you were". This has happened to me also and I have spoken about this with my psychologist as well in a few sessions. Instead of the leaves on a stream, used the version involving a train or bus. The issue for me was the same bus stopped at the station every minute and same thought to put onto the bus as it left. So that one did not work for me.

    To Everyone ...

    Mindfulness is like learning to ride. May seem impossible at first but will patience and practice can become easier over time. Keeping in mind that it does (/may) not work for all, being open to the possibility is ...

    And finally, while I am no expert, mindfulness is only (?) a tool to help reduce mental illness related issues, not necessarily designed to make you think happy thoughts.
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  14. LorenaC
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    18 September 2021

    Hi everyone,

    I just want to share some tips that i found useful for me. The best way that i can experience and understood mindfulness was thinking and living the present moment but also be aware that the mind want to be jumping from the pass to the future and viceversa, and as part of mindfulness we have to accept that ( no fight with the natural state of the mind) and in this process that is the very first step, being aware of that, once you realise it you can start to call you mind to the present tin an easy way how having your attention/focus to something particular such as plant, its color, smell for example.

    Mindfulness can be understanding as keep you alive with your five sense.. feeling the life.

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  15. Elizabeth CP
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    18 September 2021 in reply to LorenaC

    Mindfulness is a tool for MH issues which includes a wide variety of techniques. My psych has recommended it several times but he understands that many forms of meditation, relaxation and meditation don't work for me. We have discussed different options and I've been encourages to try them to find what works for me.

    I am trying to get outside twice a day and spend time focusing on 5 things to look at - really looking at the details. I then feel different things noticing textures, temperatures, pressure wind on my face ext. Then I try to notice as many different sounds such as birds, rustling leaves, cars in the distance etc. I then look for things with different smells ( today I rubbed my fingers on different herbs in my garden to smell them. This focus on different senses takes my mind off other things which helps. unfortunately at the moment my anxiety is so high it doesn't last long but at least my mind gets a small break.

    Each of us need to find the method which works for us not what works for everyone else.

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  16. geoff
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    19 September 2021 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello Elizabeth CP, yes I agree that we need to ' find the method which works for us not what works for everyone else', so the word Mindfulness means what, it's an expression, maybe a magic term that is said to patients and when explained to them it means absolutely zilch, an example, someone says that you're driving too fast, well what does 'fast' mean, it has many interruptions for everybody, another one, we're told that exercise is good for mental illness, does that mean walking out to the letterbox and back inside exercise, maybe, maybe not and who's going to give judgement because everyone's thoughts would be different.

    What people qualified or not, say what this word means is their interruption and not necessarily what I think.

    My last psychologist said to me that I shouldn't be taking all the 50 pills I need a day because he has never taken a pill, not even for a headache, so who's right, my doctor has prescribed all of this medication because I need to take it, and if this psych told me about mindfulness could I possibly believe a word he said.

    Geoff.

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  17. quirkywords
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    19 September 2021 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Elizabeth I agree with you and Geoff about mindfulness being what works for you. I have stat3d this before on this thread and I know some may think my interpretation of mindfulness is not what they think or what they have been told or read in books .
    I feel if it works for the individual that is what counts.

    i have known people who have a mental illness and have to,d be they cope with out medication snd if I tried hard enough I could to. All the mediation and mindfulness will not help me without my medication. That is my reality.

    I think mindfulness and meditation help me to slow down and focus and remain calm when I need to.

    What I like about this thread is it gives us a chance to discuss and see different perspectives on mindfulness. Thanks so much Paul for starting this thread and your concise summaries of the posts.

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  18. Ggrand
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    19 September 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Everyone...🤗..

    I think that everyone has their own ideas what mindfulness means to them...

    I fought a long battle within myself to be able to sit on my front veranda without feeling vulnerable....It was well worth the battle, because I have now a morning routine that works for me...

    My first cuppa tea is inside, after half an hour or so my second cuppa tea i have sitting outside...looking out across the mountains in the distance, the trees both far away and close and watching and listening to the birds...Is this mindfulness?....well I don’t know, but I do know it helps me to start my day with a little less anxiety about the chores I need doing...

    Is it the warmth of the sun that makes me feel more relaxed, or the birds, the trees or the mountain ranges in the distance?....I don’t know...While I’m sitting outside I don’t consciously try to look or do the 5 senses thingy...I sit outside because it helps me...My mind still wanders onto bad or unhealthy thoughts, but for some reason while I’m just sitting and relaxing outside they don’t feel so overwhelming..and I get a sense of peace and belonging to this world...

    While inside, thoughts can become overbearing, am I alive just to clean my house every day, even though it doesn’t need doing...is this my life..cleaning daily, trying to keep my mind busy day in and day out, only to go to sleep and do it all again....possibly it is...but I do have a little peace each day, by sitting outside, away from the drudgery of everyday chores, away from the four walls in my home, away from overbearing thoughts of not being useful to anyone...

    I like what I call my little bit of mindfulness...it keeps me going, it cleanses my thoughts for a little while, it pleases my eyes with what I’m looking at, it gives me some gentle music from the birds and the breeze the trees, it gives me a feeling of warmth from the sun....Whether or not it’s mindfulness I don’t really know...but it does help me, to know that outside my front door...There is another world, full of life...that is their for me, to help me, to relax me a little and give my mind a rest, to give my eyes and ears some pleasurable sights and sounds...because inside doing my chores I can’t seem to be able to be mindful...

    I think...that mindfulness is different for every person...

    My kindest thoughts everyone..

    Grandy..

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  19. smallwolf
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    19 September 2021 in reply to Ggrand

    Hi Everyone,

    Elizabeth CP did not say anything about medication. Rather, said it was meditation not working and then went on to say what worked for her.

    I do not think that anyone here suggested mindfulness or medication and you could not have both. I can even remember reading Lost Connections and the author (if I recall) was against against medication still recognised that it works for some people and did not tell them to stop. In fact I would say that it is irresponsible for someone to say that.

    Perhaps an example ... I make a mistake. That's all that happens. But from there it descends into feelings of being useless, a failure etc. With mindfulness it "can" give me a chance to recognise it as a just a mistake and not a judgement on myself.

    With that said ... "research shows that it doesn't have consistent results for everyone" (verywellminded.com)

    It is not a universal panacea. Like exercise, it is a tool that can be used and part of our toolbox. If it does not work for you, then throw it out of your toolbox.

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  20. mmMekitty
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    19 September 2021

    Hello all,

    Mindfulness linked to eastern religion, I suppose so. [me research]. But language evolves, meanings and usage change. At the outset of a conversation, people could discuss what important terms mean, so they have a definition they agree on, for their purposes. It does not have to be a dictionary (which one?) definition either.

    I want to emphasize that mindfulness can be however we define it for ourselves. That is, your personal practice and definition are all that matters. I makes no difference to me how you define it, what you do to practice it, even whether you do at all.

    I sit here, thinking, my definition might include simply taking these momentary pauses I have been taking lately, to think/recall/focus on what the bleep I am wanting to do NOW! Right now, this second.

    I get so distracted I get cranky. I forget what I am doing, how to do/what the next tiny step is that I need to do, it's driving me 'nanans (& they don't like that).

    I got a rule now: I do not do anything else while cooking. So far, I have burned a few meals, but have not set my smoke alarm off. Each moment I am cooking, I am conscious I am cooking, whether I am doing the bit that requires me to cut up stuff, stir a pot, think where I am putting the spoon, etc. Edible ✔: I am happy.

    If that's a daily mindfulness for me, then who is anyone else to tell me it is not?

    Hi Geoff,

    I don't think anyone is likely to find that one single therapy, drug, activity, technique - to be all there is. I am surprised that your Psychologist said what they did. Your treatment with them is supposed to be centred on what you need. That's another ongoing conversation I have had with my PDr.

    I have had a previous PDr tell me far too much about themselves, and suggested too often that I ought to say, be into footy. No, footy don't do anything for me. I don't get the attraction. I don't like the noise. He put me on antidepressants, said I would have to keep taking them indefinitely. The drugs didn't work for me, so when I found this PDr I am with now, he was happy to wean me off them and see what happens. Sure, my emotions might be somewhat more volitile, but my learning to deal with them is of more use to me. Bleeping hard though.

    From your post, I would be v cautious because if you were to drop all the meds you could be in a precarious state indeed.

    Grandy, you so impress me. The way you get yourself outdoors, and appreciate all it can offer you, and how you describe it is beautiful.

    mmMekitty

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  21. blondguy
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    19 September 2021 in reply to LorenaC

    Hi Everyone! New members are always welcome to share their thoughts too!

    Hi LorenaC.....Welcome and thankyou for your super helpful post :-)

    LorenaC mentioned 'The best way that i can experience and understood mindfulness was thinking and living the present moment but also be aware that the mind want to be jumping from the past to the future and vice versa, and as part of mindfulness we have to accept that'

    my kindest

    Paul

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  22. Jstar49
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    21 September 2021 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi all,

    Loved the possum anecdote Sleepy! It reminded me of how I put up my hammock the other day, hung it in the mango tree (huge old tree) and was just out there sitting in it and noticed a female eastern spinebill honeyeater (so pretty and little) just hopping around happily. I eased back to lay down and just watched it for awhile. It really took me outside of myself, y'know? Changed my perspective on life, briefly but dramatically. LOVELY!

    Not weighing in on the religious talk really, but a line in a book recently read said that the highest prayer was to listen. i thought that was quite excellent.

    Cheers,

    J*

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  23. blondguy
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    21 September 2021 in reply to Jstar49

    Hey J*

    Its always great to read your posts and for mentioning.....' the highest prayer was to listen'

    Spot on Jstar and thankyou so much for leaving religion out of the discussion as it isnt relevant to why I wrote this thread topic

    Just for your interest...Dale Carnegie wrote a book in 1936 that mentioned that the ability to listen is rare and is the foundation to successful communication

    Nice1 J*

    my kindest

    Paul

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  24. missep123
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    24 September 2021 in reply to blondguy

    Hi everyone!

    I was watching a Korean drama and they mentioned a mindfulness technique based off Kungfu Panda! (It was quite random but very cute).

    It involves closing your eyes, breathing deep and saying 'inner peace'. Does anyone remember that from the movie?

    I thought that was interesting so I wanted to post that here!

  25. smallwolf
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    24 October 2021 in reply to missep123

    Be. Here. Now.

    With or without the fullstops? Three words. Three sentences? A way to get to the present, not thinking the past or future. A mantra. To find a moment, even if brief, calm.

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  26. blondguy
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    24 October 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Everyone! New posters are always welcome too!

    Hi Tim....Nice1

    you mentioned "Be. Here. Now." Even with a period (fullstop) between the sentences....its super helpful..even to some people that have chronic anxiety ✔✔✔

    my kindest always...Paul

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  27. mmMekitty
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    24 October 2021 in reply to Jstar49

    Hello J*,

    Thank you for your post. It has quite caught my attention.

    I'm not at all religious, but that idea is one worthy of close contemplation. Too often I heard people talking about prayer in terms of asking for something, talking to, or praising to, but what would be so wrong with listening?

    If you did, Listen, for whatever is coming in, rather than it bing about what you want, or worship, then, I think it could be a way to feel in the moment & you'd be meditating on your immediate world. You'd be still, quiet & receptive.

    Not sure I will ever succeed, but that goal would be something to work toward. You wouldn't have to reach some imagined perfect state of meditation for you to feel some benefit from your humble effort.

    mmMekitty

  28. missep123
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    25 October 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    I really like the idea of 'be here now'. I am hoping to make this my mantra to bring my attention back to being in the moment. Hopefully I can train my brain to think in this way!

  29. smallwolf
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    29 October 2021 in reply to missep123

    Hi Everyone,

    Paul... this is for you. I was reading a paper from 2014 and this was near the end...

    If you ever feel confused about exactly what mindfulness is don’t worry – even Buddhist scholars, professional mindfulness teachers, and researchers still argue about it.

    So I think the worry (wrong word) about what it is much less important that perhaps practicing.

  30. mmMekitty
    Valued Contributor
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    1014 posts
    30 October 2021 in reply to smallwolf

    mmMekitty to Smallwolf: "Bravo!"

    We could spend so much time defining what mindfulness is that we have no time to practise it. If we decide a upon a meaning which suits ourselves, & don't discuss it with anyone, then we can get on with practising whatever it is we think mindfulness is

    & smile.😸, knowingly to each other.

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