Most of our lives we live in “auto pilot”, a subconscious mode that has us going through the motions without much thought or awareness on our part. Mindfulness is a concept which involves us learning to actively pay attention during our day to day lives.
An example of “auto pilot” or mindlessness is when we are driving a familiar route to work and drift off in thought only to arrive at our destination without really remembering the trip there. Multi-tasking is also a good example of this behaviour.
Mindfulness teaches us to live in the present moment by simply noticing what we are doing or thinking from moment to moment. It is an ancient practice that has its roots in mediation and has been modernised and promoted in the last few decades, leading to its growing popularity.
It might sound challenging, but it can be done anywhere for any amount of time and it really improves our lives by allowing us to calm down and notice things about our thought patterns and our bodies. In addition to this, it helps us to stay present and enjoy our work, leisure and family more.
Many papers have been published that demonstrate similar findings
Some practical ways to practice mindfulness are with mindful walking or mindful eating. When walking, take 15 minutes to notice the sounds of nature, pay attention to your breathe and the feel of the air against your face. Try to engage all your senses and stay in the present moment. With eating you will try to notice the flavour, smell, texture and taste of each bite full.