Mindfulness is paying attention with kindness and curiosity to the present moment, not being lost in thoughts of the past or worries of the future.
Mindfulness can be practiced as we walk the dog, brush our teeth, draw or just gaze out the window.
It is simple. It is not easy. That’s why we practice.
One way to practice is to sit quietly and focus on something that we know is real and constant, our breath, as it enters and leaves the body. Notice it, and just as an anchor keeps a boat from drifting off to sea, our breath can gently anchor us and call us back to the present when we notice our thoughts have drifted off.
Through mindful techniques we can focus on the process of making things; a song; a drawing; a story, rather than focusing on the end results. This can stop our negative self-talk. “This is no good. So and so is much better than me.” We are free to create joyfully.
I practice and teach mindfulness in a secular fashion and am passionate about neuroscience. I have discovered that teaching simple facts of how our brains work is extremely helpful and entertaining to young people. It doesn’t hurt that I have a realistic model of a skull and brain. It can be taken apart like a puzzle and is especially useful in showing the tiny little part, the amygdala, that can cause us so much trouble.