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What Is Mindfulness?

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Robyn McKay shares what is means to live mindfully and explains how women can learn to live in the present rather than thinking about past and future experiences.

Robyn McKay:
Hi, I am Robin McKay. I am a creativity researcher and coach for creating and talented people. I have my Ph.D. in counseling psychology that I received from the University of Kansas.

Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose in the present moment as open heartedly and non-judgmentally as possible, and apart from the immune system, which seems to be a side effect of being mindful of paying attention on purpose, the immune system improves, but also there are a host of other positive side effects of paying attention on purpose.

When I teach people how to be mindful there are two different pathways that we take. One is a formal practice of mindfulness meditation which involves sitting quietly and focusing on something like your breath or a mantra, like a lot of people use the word ‘Om’ to focus on, although the people I teach mindfulness to don’t necessarily want to chant or to say ‘Om’ so I just have them focus on their breath and pay attention to breathing in and breathing out and knowing when they are breathing in and breathing out. That would be an example of a formal practice of mindfulness.

An informal practice of mindfulness is just when you go about your daily life paying attention to what’s going on. Often times we run on autopilot. In other words, we are not really paying attention when we are driving in our car; we arrive at our destination and don’t even remember how we got there.

When we are paying attention on purpose we are actually paying attention when we are driving to our hands on the steering wheel, to the music in the car, perhaps even the cars around us as we are driving on the freeway. In that way, we can be more responsive to our surroundings rather than reactive to them.

Visit Robyn McKay's Blog

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