Although it seems pretty fashionable at the moment, the concept of mindfulness isn’t a new idea. If anything, it’s part of one of the oldest philosophical traditions, and – like many pieces of generational wisdom – it can be hugely useful as part of making yourself healthier.
Mindfulness is being aware of experience from a first-person perspective
In simpler terms, that means that mindfulness is the act of understanding what you’re doing and why, and what the implications of your actions are.
There’s no real secret to mindfulness. If anything, it’s a simple, and fairly self evident truth: If you know what you’re doing and why, then you’re better equipped to understand the reasons why you act in a particular way and what the implications of your actions are.
Mindfulness and Fitness
Mindfulness can have quite big implications for your physical fitness. A lot of the time, we make excuses for our actions and lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we’ll make up for the work-out that we’ve missed, or try extra hard in the gym in the morning to make up for the extra biscuit we ate.
When you are more in tune with your experiences and consider their consequences, you’re much more considered in what you do – at peace with yourself. With a mindfulness centric approach to diet, you are more likely to think twice about that tasty doughnut, or be realistic about whether you’re trying hard enough in training.
How Mindfulness Works
As we said above, Mindfulness makes a lot of sense in the context of your wider fitness plan, but it’s important to practice it as a behaviour. A key part of the discipline is the need to make time for thought and reflection. You need to spend time thinking about things that you’re doing, rather than simply doing them. A lot of practitioners promote behaviour similar to meditation as part of a mindfulness programme, and this is definitely sensible.
You create peace within yourself and give yourself the opportunity to get closer to the motivation and reason behind your behaviour. Rather than just telling yourself that X is true, you think about what X is, what the implications of X are for your life, and how X affects your thought and action patterns.
What Mindfulness Really Is
For a lot of people, the ideas of Mindfulness and Zen are very similar. Essentially both are about expanding the moment through realisation. The idea of understanding the instant and being able to appreciate it fully.
You don’t need to take a course in mindfulness to become more aware of who you are and what you’re doing. The simplest way of understanding the concept is to liken it to being an un-critical observer of yourself. Taking a step back from your everyday behaviour to view it dispassionately and in a sense of how the moment affects your wider being.
If you treat each moment as part of your life and question or accept the implications of it, you’ll find that you behave in a way that’s generally more beneficial to your future wellbeing – rather than being destructive.