You may have heard the word mindfulness in recent years, and you might be wondering what it really means. Mindfulness can be defined as the practice of being fully aware of one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions in the present moment without judgment or discrimination. As mindfulness has become more popular, more and more people are embracing it as a way to live their lives each day in an intentional manner and with minimal stress.
What is mindfulness?
The essence of mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. This creates more space for ourselves to slow down and be present with our experiences in life. Mindfulness is a way of being where we are receptive to our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations from moment to moment without being reactive or caught up.
Why be mindful?
Mindfulness is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, but a lot of people don’t really know what it means. It’s also a type of relaxation practice, but few people seem to be clear on how to do it. As such, there’s not just a lack of information out there about mindfulness; there’s also some misconceptions about it that can get in your way if you aren’t careful.
How to practice it?
When your mind is racing or you are feeling stressed, take a few moments to step away from whatever is causing it and focus on your breathing. Try counting as you breathe in for four seconds and out for six. This will calm your thoughts, making them much easier to manage. You can also try mindful meditation. Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, sit comfortably with your back straight and eyes closed, then focus on your breathing as well. If thoughts enter your head that distract you from focusing on your breath, acknowledge their presence without judgment before refocusing again. After about 10 minutes of meditation, open your eyes slowly and return to what you were doing before meditating. Doing so should make you feel more relaxed and centered.
What are some of its benefits?: Mindfulness helps people improve their emotional intelligence by allowing them to stop worrying about things they cannot control. It can also reduce anxiety and stress levels by helping individuals become more aware of their surroundings and therefore less likely to overreact when confronted with stressful situations. And because mindfulness helps reduce anxiety, it can help people who suffer from conditions like depression, insomnia, high blood pressure or heart disease experience an improvement in overall health.
Can you learn it?
Mindfulness, although a widely sought after skill, is not easy to develop. In fact, it takes months of training to be able to feel mindful in day-to-day life. However, if you’re willing to put in that work and dedicate yourself to meditation and relaxation exercises (which come with a host of other positive benefits), you can definitely learn how to do it. As always, it just takes time.
Is it for me?
Mindfulness is one of those words you see everywhere these days. But what does it mean and why should you care? In a nutshell, mindfulness means being fully aware of what’s happening around you—in particular your thoughts and feelings—without judging them or getting hooked by them. It can sound like a big deal, but practicing mindfulness is easier than you think, even in small ways.