8 July 2021

4 min.

Mindfulness 101: What, why, when, and how

If we often refer to mindfulness when we talk about meditation, it is a concept that is much broader and encompasses many things.

In fact, you have probably experienced moments of mindfulness without even being aware of it! Whether it’s counting sheep as you fall asleep, observing the physical changes in your body at the end of a yoga session, or admiring the birds on a walk, you’ve paused to focus your attention on a specific element.

What is mindfulness?

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine who is helping to make mindfulness accessible to as many
people as possible, mindfulness is a state of awareness that results from paying attention — intentionally, in the
present moment, and without judgment — to the experience that unfolds moment by moment.

In other words, mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment. Being fully here. It’s choosing to direct our thoughts, our emotions, our physical sensations on what we are doing at the moment, with a compassionate eye on ourselves, on others, on our environment.

Why practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness has many benefits for wellbeing and health. Indeed, scientific research shows that this state of mindfulness allows for better concentration, greater resilience, better stress management, more creativity, and a greater state of wellbeing.

Mindfulness has also been found to have very positive impacts on health. Those who practice mindfulness are less likely to have stress-related illnesses such as depression, chronic pain, inflammation, psoriasis, and high blood pressure.

Finally, mindfulness allows you to fully experience the pleasures of everyday life: the people you are with, your activities, your work, or even the place where you live. In a world that goes faster and faster and in which we quickly forget all the beautiful things we already have, doesn’t that make it even more important?

When should you practice mindfulness?

You are completely free to decide when you want to practice mindfulness. There are no fixed and rigid rules attached to it.

Did you know that you can even practice mindfulness while eating? At your next lunch, alone or with someone else, instead of quickly chomping down on each bite, take the time to enjoy them.

Notice the smell of your food, the way it looks, and the complexity of its taste. Focus on your chewing and how each bite feels as it passes down your gullet. Give yourself permission to be fully present in your meal or in the conversations that surround it.

This will help you reset and refocus for the second half of your day.

That being said, if you feel that stress is building up or you need to increase the level of focus, creativity, or wellbeing in your life or at work, setting aside time to practice mindfulness would be a good idea.

Some resources to help you practice mindfulness

Several mobile apps are available to help you meditate and practice mindfulness. Among those used and recommended by the team are Rose Buddha and Headspace.

Rose Buddha is a Quebec-based brand of yoga clothing and accessories that has decided to give its community an app, available in both English and French, to learn how to meditate. The application is available in both French and English. As for Headspace, it is also a meditation practice app, available in four languages.

You can also follow experts such as Carl Lemieux and Manon Breton on social networks. These people are mindfulness and meditation experts who regularly share resources on the subject.

If you are feeling up to it and have some time to spare, we can also recommend the book Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan which will allow you to go deeper into the subject.

Finally, if you want to practice mindfulness at work and are looking for hands-on techniques to get into it, contact us so we can help you.

Ready to practice mindfulness?