Mindfulness means paying attention in a certain way, its means being in the present moment, and behaving non-judgementally. If we do this it increases our awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality.
It is simply a practical way to notice thoughts, physical sensations, sights, sounds, smells, in fact, anything we might not normally notice. The skills required to practice mindfulness might be simple, but because it is so different to how our minds normally behave, it takes a lot of practice.
Busy stressful lives can sometimes make us feel we are not in control of our own minds and thoughts. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality helping us to control and cope better with stress.
It can also help with – Intrusive thoughts, where a person commonly suffers with obsessive thoughts that are repetitive, disturbing and often appalling in nature. For example, thoughts of causing violent or sexual harm to loved ones.
Once you have the intrusive thought you begin looking for more examples of these thoughts. “Oh no, I just had that thought again.” You begin to watch yourself; you become self-conscious, fearing every possible thought or intrusion that does not reflect an untainted and good mind. Your belief is that your mind should only have certain thoughts. Everything else is bad or unsafe.
By becoming more aware of our thoughts, (especially negative, unhelpful thought) feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we allow ourselves to make better, successful choices. We do not have to go into the same unhelpful thinking styles and behaviours that may have caused problems in the past.