Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English

Mindfulness in Plain English  – written by Alan Anderson

mindfulness in plain english

Mindfulness can be a very confusing subject for any beginner.  That’s because information about mindfulness generally comes to us from diverse sources. Historically, mindfulness practice came to us from ancient Buddhist practice. More recently, a major source is from many modern science based therapies. For me and many others, it is these two very different views of mindfulness that can create confusion. Often, this confusion is created by either very complex and some times vague language. I have been lucky enough to break through this confusion and therefore want to share my view of mindfulness in plain english.

At its core, mindfulness is actually very simple. Also, you don’t need to become a Buddhist or join a therapy group to benefit from using mindfulness. Therefore, I want to share with you a very simple view of mindfulness in plain english and how it may benefit your life. Also, from this post, you may begin to understand why I consider mindfulness my personal super power.

mindfulness in plain english

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English- East meets West

Firstly, we have to consider that mindfulness practice comes to us from an ancient Buddhist tradition. However, mindfulness itself is not a religious practice. In fact, it is a practice for creating mental strength, clarity and peak mental performance.

Many spiritual practices require participants to develop a strong mind and body before undertaking the challenge of spiritual practice.

However, the great news here is that we can use mindfulness practice to strengthen our mind and body. Mindfulness has a wide range of well researched health  benefits including stress reduction, improved brain performance and lowering of blood pressure to name only a few.

However, the challenge with eastern practices is that they are often steeped in ancient mystic or poetic language.  This language can be a huge barrier to understanding for our western minds. Secondly, I did not want to have to become a Buddhist to understand and benefit form using mindfulness.  Therefore, I decided to explore the western view of mindfulness practice. For me, the one take away from the eastern view of mindfulness was that it has been used with great success for hundreds of years.

The Western View

Many modern, science based therapies now widely promote mindfulness practice for it’s health benefits. Unfortunately, their information is often presented with challenging scientific language. Also, you need to be willing to join a therapy group or pay a therapist to gain access to their information.

For me, understanding mindfulness is about taking a very pragmatic view. You can benefit from mindfulness without becoming a Buddhist or joining a therapy group.  In fact, it’s about being able to use simple ideas and methods to improve your everyday mental strength and performance.

Like the eastern view of mindfulness, the take away here is that mindfulness practice is now widely used in many modern scientifically based therapies. Once you understand that mindfulness practice is widely used and accepted, it is possible to develop your own simple practice.

mindfulness in plain english

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English – Keeping it Simple

I am not a Buddhist and yet I benefit greatly from using mindfulness in my every day life. Also, I am not involved in any modern therapy use of mindfulness. Yet, it has been possible to extract the essence of these two diverse views of the same subject.

Here’s an example to demonstrate this idea. You don’t have to become a plumber to change a tap washer. It’s possible to learn enough about plumbing to complete some effective D.I.Y around the home. So, it’s quite realistic to reap the wonderful benefits of using mindfulness without becoming a Buddhist or joining a therapy group.

The key point here is that mindfulness has a powerful history of success from both the eastern mystic traditions and modern scientific therapy traditions. In my posts about mindfulness, I try to extract the essence of these differing views of the same subject. In fact, I want to show people how simple it can be to use mindfulness to improve mental performance, reduce stress and improve creativity.

Mindfulness has become my personal super power to create effortless personal transformation from the inside out.

mindfulness in plain english

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English – Mindfulness Explained

Let me try to explain the power of mindfulness as I understand it and experience it in as few words as possible. The more stressed our minds become, the more jumbled our thoughts and emotions become. This impacts how well our brain works, how we feel and therefore how we create our internal view of the world.

When our brain is constantly in overdrive, our thoughts and emotions often become jumbles. This allows our mind to spend time dwelling or ruminating on negative thoughts and emotions. It is this rumination process which often creates perception of fear of the future. This can leave us feeling anxious about the future. Also, this rumination process can cause us to dwell on previous events that we perceive as upsetting.

With mindfulness, we learn to switch our mind from rumination into the present moment. With practice, this allows us to calm the jumble of thoughts and emotions. We train our mind to focus on the present moment. This in turn switches our mind away from our negative thoughts and emotions. Over time, this allows us to spend less time getting caught up with our past experiences.  Also,  our fearful perceptions of the future melt away when we learn to live mindfully.

Therefore, mindfulness practice allows us to become anchored in the present moment. Also, it allows us to become aware of our thoughts and feelings without judging them. With mindfulness,we learn to become the compassionate observer of our thoughts and feelings.

mindfulness in plain english

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English – Outstanding Benefits

Mindfulness practice is now recognized to have a wide range of health benefits. These include stress reduction, lower blood pressure, reduced rate of aging, improved brain function and performance to name only a few.

That’s why I  feel that mindfulness practice and mindfulness meditation have become my personal super power. Firstly, they helped me restore my health and well-being. Also, they are powerful tools for improving brain performance, focus and function. The more you live mindfully, the more you are able to reach a state of peak mental performance. Living in this state allows life to flow effortlessly as the impact of fear and anxiety drop away.

mindfulness in plain english

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English – Mindfulness in Action

Mindfulness in action is about becoming aware of your thinking or rumination and taking time to gently bring your mind into the present moment.

This can be achieved by simply observing your thoughts without judgement, or simply shifting your focus to the present moment. I personally use two types of mindfulness practice to achieve this. These are mindfulness exercises and mindfulness meditation. Here is a quick overview of each.

Mindfulness exercises can be used when feeling stressed at work, when walking, eating, meditating or even when preparing for sleep. In fact, consider the old practice of ‘counting sheep’ to aid the sleep process. This is a way of switching your brain to focus on counting in the present moment. This helps the brain to switch out of thinking mode which can keep us awake.Therefore, at it’s simplest, counting sheep can be considered a mindfulness practice.

Also, mindfulness can also be practiced as part of a meditation session.This is a more formal practice where you plan a regular time to practice mindfulness away from the every day activities. You can read more about mindfulness meditation by visiting www.makemeditationeasy.com.

mindfulness in plain english

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English – What next?

Any time you can shift your mind into the present moment you are becoming mindful. By regularly taking the role of the observer of thoughts or what is happening now,  you become more mindful. You can use mindfulness exercises during the day at any time you find your mind becoming jumbled or stressed. While this is a great way to manage stress during the day, the most widely researched mindfulness practice is meditation. If you would like to learn simple mindfulness meditation, check out Make Meditation Easy

You may also benefit from reading these other posts…

Mindful Living – 7 Tactics for Living Powerfully

Calm Down Before Sleep in 5 Simple Steps

How to Do Meditation at Home

Mindfulness for a Healthy Brain

If you want to boost your ability to live mindfully, you may benefit from checking out the  7 minute mindfulness audio.

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