Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose in a non judgemental way (Kabat-Zinn, 1991) it is a state of being attentive and aware in the present moment (Brown & Ryan, 2003). The word mindfulness is closely associated with a meditation technique within Buddhism however within personal development it is a state which can be cultivated through practice. When used as a form of meditation, Buddhist monks focus attention on their steps as they walk, their food as they chew and their breath as well as chanting mantras. Since Buddhism is a philosophy rather than a religion it is easy to incorporate the techniques into everyday life.
Benefits of Mindfulness in Pregnancy
- When used in everyday life and during pregnancy, mindfulness is an effective stress buster.
- Mindfulness can promote inner awareness.
- Very effective relaxation technique good to use when dealing with the stresses and strains of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Making the best of the prenatal period to bond with your child.
- It can assist in the removing of excessive chatter and negative self talk that goes on inside your head.
- Changing negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
- When practised it can assist with focusing on a single task.
- If practised well practitioners can experience transcendence.
Some simple mindfulness Exercises.
How to add mindful inner awareness to your day. Practising for 20 minutes twice a day is not possible for everybody. But any amount of mindfulness added to your day can be a benefit. It is important to remove all other interruptions for the period you choose to be mindful. For your body to be truly mindful it is beneficial to practice prior to eating a meal rather than just after.
- Raise your awareness of a positive task and focus only on that task such as eating. Move past simple putting the food in your mouth, focus on the food nourishing your child as it grows inside you.
- Sit with your eyes closed and hum like a bee taking a breath in through the nose when necessary or repeat a sound in your head which resonates positively with you. Om is a commonly used sound in meditation.
- Sit with your eyes closed if that feels comfortable and concentrate on your breath. Breath in through the nose for the count of 10 and out for the count of 1o. It is important that when you take your breaths you are not only filling your chest but your stomach is rising and falling with each breath the is a useful breathing technique in hypno birthing.
- When cooking be mindful of what you are doing focus on the ingredients and cook with love and nutrition in mind.
Find out more
Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 84 (4), 822-848.
Kabat-Zinn, J., & University of Massachusetts Medical Center/Worcester. (1991). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, N.Y: Pub. by Dell Pub., a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub. Group.