What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply paying focused attention to the present moment in a curious and nonjudgmental way. The need for an empty mind during meditation is a common misconception and often leads to a feeling of failure, causing people to give up. The great thing about mindfulness is that you can’t really fail! When your mind starts wandering off again, you can always bring it back to the present moment, observe your own thoughts, feelings and sensations.
How does mindfulness work?
Some experts believe that mindfulness works by helping people to accept their experiences-including painful emotions, rather than avoiding them.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
- Reduces stress
- Decreases anxiety
- Improves memory
- Reduces overthinking
- Experience fewer depressive symptoms
- Increase in focus and attention
- Decreases emotional reactivity
- Can help with chronic pain
Simple mindfulness techniques:
- Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath.
- Body sensations – Notice body sensations such as warmth or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body from head to toe.
- Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches without judgment and let them go.
- Emotions – Practice naming emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “sadness.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.
- You can choose any daily task or moment to practice mindfulness, such as eating, showering, walking, or relaxing.