“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”
Often, we find ourselves thinking about the past or the future. Mindfulness is a self-awareness practice that emphasizes being aware of the present moment, without making judgments about what you notice. Research has shown that mindfulness can help people cope more effectively with stress, depression, anxiety, and health problems. Though we can all pay attention to the present moment for a short while, mindfulness is a specific skill that can be developed. Here are four simple ways you can bring mindfulness into activities of everyday life:
- Focus your awareness on your breath while doing a routine activity. This is something that can be done at any time, such as waiting for someone to respond to your text message, listening to music, or getting dressed.
- Take ten slow, deep breaths. Notice the sensations of your lungs filling and emptying, your ribcage rising and falling. Notice the thoughts and feelings passing through your mind and body. Observe them without judging them as good or bad, trying to change them, avoid them, or hold onto them. Notice what it is like to observe your thoughts and feelings with an attitude of acceptance.
- Focus your awareness on a physical habit that has previously been outside of your conscious awareness. For example, when you are walking take notice of the feeling of each foot hitting the ground. Listen to the sounds around you, and notice the sights, big and small.
- Silently put words to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations by noting or describing them. For example, if you notice you are feeling anxious before an important test, you can silently note “that’s anxiety.” Don’t judge them as good or bad, or try to change them; just observe what you are thinking and feeling.
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness, join us for Be Well: Mindful Yoga this spring. Details below!