Waking up out of autopilot

A fair part of our live we run on automatic pilot. Call it routine. While you wake up and get the children ready for school or drive to work, eat or sport, talk to friends et cetera, often your mind is somewhere else. The day goes by without you really being there.

What would it be like to be fully present with what is, both the fun and less fun, the extraordinary and ordinary daily events? To experience the richness of every moment? To wake up out of autopilot in the here and now?

That’s mindfulness: open, kind and non-judgmental awareness. You step out of routine and consciously choose to pay attention to the present – being it pleasant,unpleasant or neutral – experience from moment to moment.

To be present like that will make you live more fully and relaxed. You move with the flow and waves of life.

Mindfulness in short:

» helps you to recognize thought patterns and to gently bring your attention back to the present moment.
» allows you to be here and now and experience the richness and vividness of everyday life moments.
» helps you to be in ‘being mode’ more often compared to  ‘doing mode’ all the time
» helps you to develop new approaches to deal differently with pain and difficult emotions.
» gives you time and space to breathe and take a break when needed.
» helps you to reduce stress and cope differently with it.

Deal differently and better with stress

A to-do list that grows every day. Being late for an important appointment. The children making a mess after a busy day. Stress is an inevitable part of our daily lives. However you do have choice on how to deal with it.

Mindfulness teaches you to notice tensions coming up during a stressful event and shows you how you often react automatically. In such a way your get more and more conscious of your habits and patterns that often maintain stress levels or even further induce them.

By curiously observing this, you’ll create space to make your choices more consciously from clarity, creativity and kindness towards yourself and others.You are responsive rather than reactive. This will decrease the impact of stress in your daily (work)life substantially and that in turn contributes to your overall health and well being!

Mindfulness and science

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a microbiologist, was at the the basis of the 8-week mindfulness program in 1979. He named it Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He developed and taught this course at the Medical Center of the University of Massachusetts years. Ever since  the scientific results about the benefits of mindfulness in relation to dealing with stress, pain and illness have grown exponentially.

The most important results from studies about the effects of the MBSR program are:

» a decline of psychical and mental health issues.
» a positive change in lifestyle.
» being able to relax more easily.
» a more positive self-image.
» an improvement of quality of life.

Do you want to know more about mindfulness? Here you’ll find a list with books and websites.