E-mail, social media, radio, television, internet: we are constantly bombarded with bits of information. Nowadays our brain is expected to process a lot more than it did in the past. That has an influence on our wellbeing, because the 'stress hormone', cortisol, is constantly being stimulated. There is always an email to answer, a video to watch or a program to listen to. That's how we perpetuate the avalanche of information. Daily life has become a battle for attention.
Obviously, technology plays a major role. With a smart phone you have the world in your pocket. It has been demonstrated that innovative apps change our daily habits. Yet it is all too easy just to look at what's on offer, because in the end it's about how you deal with technology. In the book Sane New World: Taming the mind Wax talks about the interaction between depression and spiritual restlessness. Wax was constantly busy with something or someone, always feeling pushed, always pressurized. With mindfulness she managed to calm the storm in her head.
‘Mindfulness teaches you to focus on your senses. What do you see, smell, feel, taste and hear? That helps you to shift your attention to the here and now. Your thoughts are drawn away, your 'inner voice' calms down. The trick is to fool your mind,' says Wax. Sane New World is based on the theories of Mark Williams, one of the ‘founders’ of mindfulness. Williams in turn was inspired by Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), the working of which has been scientifically proven.
‘Mindfulness is not (another) doing, it is a being, and that doesn’t take time.’ – Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness is not difficult, but requires practice. It is difficult to stay in the here and now, thoughts tend to drift off. Particularly at moments of relaxation (subconscious) worries may pop up. Fortunately, technology provides a solution to this, for example with the Headspace app. Whoever seriously embarks on mindfulness, liberates himself from fear, stress, depression and fatigue. Instead, you become more creative, start to listen better and increase your ability to solve problems. Mindfulness relaxes and leads to more efficient use of time, energy and interaction with others. Let's be clear about it: everyone can benefit from mindfulness.
Want to know more about mindfulness? Check out this catchy presentation given by Ruby Wax for the School of Life.
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