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    The Many Faces Of Mindfulness Practice

    Mindfulness can improve our experience of life in many ways. While these improvements may be stark and significant for some, for others the benefits of regular mindfulness practice may be more subtle and nuanced.

    Nancy Darling, Ph.D and professor of Psychology and Oberlin college, suggests we approach mindfulness from four main directions.

    1. Mindfulness as a Distraction


    In its simplest terms, mindfulness works by calling one’s attention to various focal points (i.e. the breath and other sensations in our immediate environment). By funneling awareness into these simple acts, mindfulness eases external anxiety and reduces feelings of pain by encouraging you to focus on one thing: your breath.

    2. Mindfulness as Attentiveness


    “A broader and more powerful aspect of mindfulness is not what it takes our attention from, but what it calls our attention to.”

    When employed correctly, mindfulness practice can effectively train your mind to approach sensations, events, and life itself, as an impartial observer. It teaches you how to acknowledge your thoughts—good and bad—without being consumed by them, which can bring incredible amounts of ease and feelings of freedom to those in a constant state of worry or distress.

    3. Mindfulness as a Call to Action


    By bringing awareness and attention to things in our natural and immediate environment we might not normally notice, mindfulness can also serve as a call to action.

    “Being mindful of what [is hurting] us is the first step that gets us to change our lives for the better.”

    Mindfulness is also useful for social interactions because “when we are in the moment, we feel how others react to us.” We can navigate our relationships easier and with more understanding if we focus our attention towards doing so.

    4. Mindfulness as Gratitude


    When we take the time to attend to our current environment, we are—in a sense—coming to a place where we accept things as they are. This acceptance is what can negate the need for worry, anxiety, or extraneous concern. Life starts to take on a subtle order and you notice things you may have overlooked in the past in your haste to finish X, Y, or Z. Mindfulness can slow you down, giving you the tools to appreciate the subtleties of our lives and at the same time fortifying our resilience towards undesirable situations and events that may arise in the future.

    Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thinking-about-kids/201709/use-mindfulness-improve-your-life-not-escape-it
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