Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created the MBSR course says Mindfulness is:
The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.
So being in the present moment- not on autopilot and waking up to the endless chatter in the head. We are lost in thought on average 47% of the time. 80% of that is negative thought, and 95% of those thoughts we’ve had before.
Part of the mindfulness practice is getting in contact with your breath and body- finding where stress manifests itself physically. This takes you directly out of your thoughts, as you can actually only concentrate on one thing at a time. Calming deep breaths also signal to your nervous system that everything is ok, and that we don’t need to be on high alert.
WHAT YOU RESIST, PERSISTS
The “event” (such as a headache) is not the problem as such- it’s how we perceive it. If our perception is negative we get stuck in a circle of resistance and rumination soon follows. Mindfulness gives you tools to sit with what is, be it physical pain, emotional pain or negative thoughts. With space to pause, to step our and observe what is happening, you can choose to respond more effectively.
The paradox of mindfulness is that Acceptance proceeds change.
The practice is about finding a place of acceptance, which is not to be confused with resignation. Resignation suggests victim mode, defeatist attitudes and passivity. Acceptance is active. I chose….. (not to be on autopilot, not to be reactive)
Ultimately you can’t stop life events occurring, but mindfulness gives you the tools to act more skillfully- to surf the waves.