Mindfulness is something that you might have been hearing a lot about lately. The idea of being mindful has made its way into modern medicine as well as modern lifestyles. The best thing about practicing mindfulness is it requires nothing at all; just you, your breath, and your body. In other words, what you think in your mind has a huge impact on what happens to your body. Below we will outline exactly what mindfulness is and how you can benefit from practicing mindfulness every day.
What is Mindfulness?
Essentially, mindfulness is practicing the act of observing your thoughts, feelings, and sensations with the indifference of a bystander. This is done without judgment or analysis. You simply are aware of the actions are you making and stay focused in the present moment. Although the idea of this seems rather simple, it isn’t always easy for everyone to do.
Often, we get carried away with worries of the future or the past. We also have a tendency to get caught up in our own thoughts and about small or trivial events. For example, what’s for dinner or what you are doing to do when you’re “done with this”. We can give you some tips on how to handle these distractions and how you can benefit from practicing true mindfulness a few minutes each day.
Why should you Practice it?
One of the major changes that come from staying mindful is that it can help people relax. By staying in the present moment you focus on what you are doing, thereby letting your worries and anxieties melt away. This has also been proven to have positive impacts on the brain and body.
Studies at Harvard have shown that meditation and mindfulness will alter the brain’s gray matter (an important part of the brain attached to learning and memory). This study has also shown that by staying mindful for an average of 30 minutes a day, you can decrease areas of the brain associated with anxiety and stress. Other studies of mindfulness related to cancer patients have shown that mindfulness will overall improve the quality of life of people who have cancer by alleviating hot flashes, boosting immunity, as well as any muscular and gastrointestinal disorders.
Steps To Practice Mindfulness
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, with the keyword being practice. You have to train your mind to stop wandering, which is normal for most people since that is what they have always been doing. Below we give you some tips on how to stay mindful, give your brain an opportunity to unwind, and bring yourself back to the moment.
- Find a space completely uncluttered and quiet where you won’t be distracted.
- Set a time limit for yourself so you won’t have the urge to check your clock as you go.
- Try for five or ten minutes at first and then gradually go longer and longer. If you are busy, don’t worry since any time at all will still have positive impacts.
- You can sit however you want as long as it’s comfortable. However, don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep.
- Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath and notice any sensations tied to it. Follow this sensation in and out of your body. If your mind wanders, come back to your breath.
- Observe your thoughts, feelings, and any sensations without doing anything about it. Observe your thoughts like passing clouds in the sky coming and going without having any real impact.
- No matter where your mind goes, always come back to your breath and the present moment.
- The more you practice the easier it will get. Just notice your sensations, come back to your breath, and enjoy.