Mindfulness has become popular, promoted widely in business magazines, schools, the military, and health care centers, to name just a few places. Mindfulness is based in meditation practices that are thousands of years old, so it’s hardly “new.” So, why has the interest in being mindful grown so much?
One reason there is a lot of focus on mindfulness is because of the brain research studies that have proven that mindfulness practices can calm your nervous system and support recovery from a wide range of medical and stressful conditions. Mindfulness practices can also help you get beyond obstacles that are in the way of creating what you want. And finally, the global trauma from a pandemic has increased stress for most people, so it is no wonder that interest in mindfulness has increased.
In its simplest form, mindfulness is about paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, with a non-judgmental focus. A mindfulness practice may be meditation, journaling, prayer, contemplative walking, or other ways to calm your mind and emotions.
When shifting from the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer, being mindful in the moment can gather your reactive thoughts and focus them into a more coherent and positive energy. When you go numb to what’s happening in the moment, it is easy to go on autopilot and react from early habits, deepening the hold the DDT may have on you.
When you are not aware of your thoughts and the feelings that lurk underneath the surface of your consciousness, you literally risk being at war with yourself and sabotaging what you want to create. This zaps your energy and explains why you may suddenly get triggered by something or someone. Being more self-aware in the moment can help you have your emotions, rather than your emotions having you.
Mindfulness can be as simple as sitting down and feeling your back and butt in the chair and your feet and toes on the floor. That simple act of bringing your non-judgmental attention to your body, combined with a few deep breaths, relaxes your nervous system. As you pause and observe your sensations as they rise and fall, you diminish the likelihood you will be hijacked by the DDT.
Mindfulness helps awaken your “inner observer.” The part of your brain that lights up when your inner observer is activated is a different area of your brain that is stimulated when you are in the DDT. That is how mindfulness practices help you get out of the DDT and reduce your tension and stress in the moment.
Becoming more mindful does not change your outer circumstances—it changes the way you perceive your circumstances. Things might appear the same on the outside, but mindfulness practices help you transform your inner experience. You get to change how you identify with your internal stories about your life, without really changing life. How convenient!
Shifting from Victim to Creator—from drama to empowerment—begins with focusing more on what you want than on what you don’t want. There is still tension in the gap between what you want and what you actually have, but mindfulness practices support you to watch your body’s response to it. When you do this, you expand your ability to be with the tension rather than allowing it to overwhelm you.
Those are a few great reasons why there is so much interest in mindfulness practices!