So what is it about mindfulness that it has exploded in popularity so much in recent months? Is Mindfulness simply taking some time out, shutting down from the outside world, or taking the time to focus on something? We now have in every bookstore and department store Mindfulness colouring books, for adults and children alike.
Is it meditation? I ask my clients if they have tried it before and many say they “just can’t do it it…It’s too hard. “There is so much more to Mindfulness than “colouring in” or doing a 45 minute meditation sessions in the lotus position. So let’s clarify what it is and how and who it can help.
With so many competing distractions, and the explosion of variants of social media, online games and apps all vying for and seducing our attention, and often succeeding, it is fascinating to watch the emerging counterbalance of this, being Mindfulness. Many of my ADHD clients are extremely and strongly drawn to anything with an electronic screen, and Mindfulness seems to be a way out of this alluring habit.
A common misconception about the attentional component of ADHD is that it is just “not paying attention”. More so it is the inability to regulate ones’ attention that is the downfall to successfully moving forward in a positive way. The ADHD mind can be challenged by both distractibility (attention easily being moved away) and the ability to hyper focus (not being able to shift one’s attention from the task at hand). Being more mindful encourages the concept of greater self-awareness and self-monitoring that were simply nonexistent without it.
Mindfulness as we know (and is used in practice) today can be understood as a blend of a 2500 year old Buddhist traditions and techniques and influences from findings in Neuroscience. Jon Kabat-Zinn was, by Western medicine standards, the early adopter of this practice in the 1970’s. Over time is has been successfully utilized in the treatment in a variety of medical and psychological conditions. Some of these include anxiety, depression, pain management, and more recently ADHD. It can be simply described as “remembering to be aware or attentive”. It can be more broadly a practical habit that develops better focused attention, emotional awareness, social awareness and more objective, non-judgmental observations in every aspect of our daily experience.
Mindfulness, once understood, is truly life changing and not to be forgotten. It doesn’t have to be hard or boring. It can be, just one breath. Over time, you stop “doing it “ and become “being it”