So what is this mindfulness everyone is talking about, and what does it have to do with grief? Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be full present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly react or be overwhelmed by what’s going on in our heads or around us. When we are grieving we are, often times, on “auto pilot,” getting through each second of the day as best as we can. All of this while experiencing intense thoughts and emotions.
John Cabat-Zinn explains how you are not your thoughts:
So when you are feeling as though your emotions have gotten the best of you, try this:
The Basics of Mindfulness Practice according to Mindful.org
Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses. Here’s how to tune into mindfulness throughout the day:
- Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
- Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. Easier said than done, we know.
- Let your judgments roll by.When we notice judgements arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
- Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.
Seems simple enough but may not be as easy as you want it to be at first. Keep practicing and you will see results.