What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is choosing to pay attention deliberately without judgment and being fully present in the moment, in the here and now. Break the daily routine and take a moment to be completely present. Try this mindfulness exercise next time you eat your favorite meal, take the time to smell it, see it, touch it, taste it and notice the sound it makes as you chew it. Enjoy your meal consciously using all of your senses. Notice how you ate that meal and how you normally eat. The best thing about mindfulness is that you can practice mindfulness at anytime you choose with any activity. For a moment, practice paying attention to your breath throughout your day, notice your body posture, bring awareness to any tightness and sensations in your body. Taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness is good for your health and can reduce the effects of stress and the constant chatter in your brain. In mindfulness practice, you are neither thinking about the past nor worrying about your future, you are right here, right now in this very moment.
The power of mindfulness can be used as an effective tool to reduce the effects of stress on your physical, emotional and mental health. The negative effects of stress can cause:
- pain and disease
- drains your physical and emotional/mental energy
- negative thinking and rumination
- burnout and feelings of overwhelm
- poor decision making
- decreased performance
What are the benefits of Mindfulness practice?
- Lowers stress hormones
- promotes relaxation
- Feel more at ease
- Increases presence
- Increases feelings of wellbeing
- Reduces anxiety and depressive symptoms
- Increases changes in the grey matter of your brain, associated with memory, learning, emotional regulation and perspective
3 Simple Mindfulness Steps to Start
First minute- Listen to the sounds around you
Second minute-Observe your breath as it goes, all the way in, and all the way out
(if your mind drifts gently bring your attention back to your breath)
Third minute-Notice your body sensations
Take notice of how your whole body feels afterwards. Consider practicing mindfulness daily and enjoying the benefits. Start for as little as three minutes a day then consider expanding your mindfulness practice during 1-2 activities per day. Remember, practice not perfection.
"To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders" - Lao Tzu