In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often difficult to find moments of peace and calm amidst the chaos. With constant notifications from our phones and endless to-do lists, it’s no wonder stress and anxiety are becoming more prevalent. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests the practice of mindfulness can be a powerful tool to improve mental health and well-being.
What exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. It involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judgment. Also included is cultivating an awareness of your surroundings and the people around you.
One of the most well-known benefits of mindfulness is stress reduction. Take a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and be present in the moment. In this way, you’ll train your brain to respond more calmly to stressors when they arise.
But mindfulness isn’t just about reducing stress. It can improve mood, increase focus, and boost immunity. Individuals who practice mindfulness experience less negative emotion and greater overall well-being than those who don’t.
Incorporate mindfulness daily.
Good news! Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Just a few minutes of mindfulness practice each day can make a vast difference in your mental health and overall well-being.
Focus on the breath.
Breathing exercises bring you closer to a mindful state. Find a quiet place where you with few distractions. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Focus on the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Full body scan
Another way to practice mindfulness is through a body scan. Find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, and focus your attention on each part of your body. Start with your toes and work your way to the top of your head. Notice any sensations you may feel along the way.
Anchor the habit.
Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routines like eating or showering. Rather than rush through these activities, take time to be fully present and engage in the experience. Notice the colors, textures, and smells of the food you’re eating, or the sensation of the water on your skin as you shower.
Trial and error.
Like any new habit, incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can be a challenge – at first. It’s common to feel as if you don’t have enough time, or that your mind is too busy to focus on the present moment. Never fear, there are strategies you can use to overcome these obstacles.
Spend a few minutes of mindfulness practice each day to have a positive impact on your mental health and well-being. Set aside a specific time each day for your mindfulness practice. Treat it like any other appointment or commitment.
It’s natural for your mind to wander during mindfulness practice – in fact, that’s part of the practice! When you notice your mind drifting, simply bring your attention back to the present moment without judgment. Be patient with yourself. You’ll get there.
The practice of mindfulness can be a powerful tool in improving your mental health and overall well-being. Incorporate simple mindfulness exercises into your daily routine to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase focus.
Go ahead. Try it! Your mind (and body) will thank you.
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Patricia “Pat” Bumpass is a ghostwriter, self-care advocate, author, and parent coach. She encourages and empowers women and parents with special needs kids to love themselves. Pat is North Carolina “born and bred” and loves coffee — hot or iced. You will often hear her say, “Twertles make me happy.” 🙂
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