Mindfulness. The term has become somewhat of a trend. People are familiar with the word without knowing its meaning. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present where we are and in what we are doing without being overwhelmed or reactive to what is happening around us.
While often confused with meditation, mindfulness is less intense and is an experience that can be achieved within the little moments throughout a day. For example, a mindful moment practice might include taking a few moments to break before answering that work email.
Why should you practice mindfulness?
- It improves mental health. As psychotherapists and even school districts begin to implement mindfulness, the impact of it becomes more apparent. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce absenteeism, detentions, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and more.
- It improves physical health. We know that mental health directly relates to physical health, and vice versa. Through using mindfulness techniques, scientists have discovered that these practices can improve stress, heart disease, blood pressure, sleep, and chronic pain.
- It improves overall well-being. While mental and physical health is a huge part of a person’s well-being, mindfulness helps the individual to savor life’s moments as they occur and conquer adversity as it strikes.
- Sensory – Pay attention to the things you see, smell, taste, or feel. Label them as the sensation they are and then let them go.
- Emotions – Feel emotions without judgment. Accept that you feel the emotions and label them with a name (fear, anger, happiness). Let them go.
- Urge Surfing – Pay attention to the way your body feels as you begin to crave for addictive or harmful behaviors. Rather than wishing you did not have the craving, decide that the craving will subside.
- Observe the moment – As thoughts distract and take you out of the moment, return to savor the air, the smells, the feelings, and the sounds.
Observe your thoughts – During practices or meditation, it is normal for the mind to wander. If it continually happens, take time to notice what is distracting you. Pay attention without judgment, then let it go. Return to the moment and breathe.