Practising Mindfulness: Keep It Simple!

"Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".
“Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

‘Mindfulness is either on the cusp of something great, or risks becoming the latest self-help fad to perish from oversimplification. It has, without a doubt, improved my functioning with bipolar disorder‘.  So says mindfulness practitioner and teacher George Hoffman in an article published on PsychCentral.

Mindfulness comes in many shapes and sizes depending on the form taken.  For example, there are subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences between the approach taken by say a Buddhist practitioner and a Christian one.  Or what about the Stoic practitioner or the ‘secular’ one? Again, there are areas of divergence.

But there is a common theme running through the various strands of mindfulness practice.  In essence, mindfulness is simple and can be practiced by anyone; the key element is perseverance.  Or as George Hoffman says in his article:

‘For most people, a basic exercise in focused attention, such as placing one’s attention on the breath, and coming back to it when the mind wanders, can yield all of the results offered by meditation’s salesmen. Do this for a significant period of time each day and things will improve. You can spend all the money you want on mindfulness, but what counts is the effort‘.

As someone who practices (and teaches) mindfulness, I would concur with Mr. Hoffman’s approach.  Worry less about technique and concentrate on practice; you can download simple exercises from the internet that will get you started (for example, you might find http://www.psychologytools.org/mindfulness.html a useful site to visit).  And the benefits do come and mindfulness can be a very useful tool in managing bipolar disorder.

You can read George Hoffman’s article here. (Reference: Hofmann, G. (2014). Mindfulness Meditation: As Simple As Breathing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/01/10/mindfulness-meditation-as-simple-as-breathing/)

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