What is mindfulness?
According to the American Psychological Association, “mindfulness” is the awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings.1 Practicing mindfulness is about focusing on the moment. You let go of distracting thoughts to help reach a state of calm.2 It might look like this: You sit still, close your eyes and silently concentrate your mind on your breath.
Why is it helpful?
Practicing mindfulness regularly can help your health in so many ways. Mindfulness has been shown to:
- Reduce fatigue and stress
- Boost the immune system
- Lower heart rate
- Allow feelings of calm and connectedness
How to do it?
Think of mindfulness as a part of your overall self-care strategy:
- Find a comfy place to sit or stand where you won’t be interrupted.
- Close your eyes if you can.
- Take some slow, deep breaths and concentrate on the act of inhaling and exhaling.
- Become less aware of your surroundings and focus on physical sensations and emotions.
- Thoughts will pop into your head, just like leaves falling into a stream. The trick is to simply notice the distracting thoughts. Without dwelling on them, let them drift away like leaves in the current as you focus back on your breath.
- Keep up this cycle for a few minutes to relax your body and mind. This practice is like exercise for your mental muscles.
Give it a try and practice a little each day. Before you know it, you may feel some amazing benefits.
Follow along here to listen to a 10-minute loving-kindness meditation.
Published April 19, 2016
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