What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is basically a meditation technique that trains the mind to stay in the present moment. A very helpful technique then if you’re a maladaptive daydreamer. Mindfulness is supposed to alleviate stress, anxiety and even depression and apparently people who practice mindfulness notice a 20% improvement in symptoms of anxiety and depression than those who practice something else.
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. – Thich Nhat Hanh
The theory is that if we calmly connect in a non-judgemental way to the present moment and observe our thoughts and our surroundings you will essentially be better equipped to mange them.
Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, states:
“Gradually we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over, and realise that thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us. Most of us have issues we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively.”
He has written a great book on Mindfulness with exercises and tips that I really recommend as they’ve really helped me. The book is called: Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World (Includes Free CD with Guided Meditations)
I’ve written more about it here – The 5 Best Mindfulness Books.
So how do we practice mindfulness?
1. Switch off being on auto-pilot – start noticing your surroundings and what’s going on around you.
2. Deep Breathing; I’m not talking shallow breathing from your chest but Diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing. Try inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little. Breathe slowly out through your mouth.
3. Pay attention to your body.
4. Train your mind to observe and focus.
These things need to be practiced daily so it becomes part of your daily routine, I highly recommend reading a book on mindfulness ( a great cheap option). However there are of course numerous online mindfulness courses.
What is a typical mindfulness meditation?
Breathing its all about the breathing. Focus your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. You’ll come to realise your thoughts are just thoughts, they are transient, you are not your thoughts. (Not quite sure what to make of this as a Maladaptive Daydreamer). However scientific research has shown the mindfulness does help, it does improve your health and happiness, thousands swear by it so I think we should give it go.
Dr Amishi Jha, a Psychologist at the University of Miami Previous states that:
“studies have found that mindfulness protects against the deterioration in cognitive performance during periods of high stress”.
I think as maladaptive daydreamers we’ve all experienced extreme stress and that the daydreaming is a coping mechanism for this, and even if you’ve found this page and you do not suffer from Maladaptive daydreaming, we’ve all experienced stress and Mindfulness seems a great way to combat this.