Mindfulness: a word you may have seen before, heard a million times, or are still trying to piece together what the hell it means.
Some questions you might be asking, like, what is mindfulness? Why is it beneficial to your mental health? How do I practice it? Why should I practice it? What will it do to better my mind and body?
I have some answers to those questions.
Mindfulness is the act of focusing your conscious mind on the present. It is about letting go of our thoughts, our worries, and our responsibilities for a period of time and allowing our body and our mind to be in the moment, fully.
Our brains are not well equipped to deal with the daily struggles we face; as we as humans have evolved over 200,000 years, our minds have not caught up to the advances in technology and the significant issues that face our world today. Our minds are more equipped to focus on short-term goals and local problems.
Mindfulness is a great practice for anywhere, may it be the workplace, schools, healthcare practices, and criminal justice systems. Giving ourselves permission to be in the moment and giving ourselves time to investigate what is happening in our mind and body with a curious and compassionate mind improves our ability to cope with difficult situations by opening our mind to all of our options.
Mindfulness also increases our mental clarity, improves our wellbeing, and allows us to express more compassion and kindness to ourselves and others.
Mindfulness is a tool that we can use to increase our awareness of what is going on around us without increasing our judgement and reactivity.
Say you are talking with a friend and she says something that makes you feel upset. Instead of keeping these feelings buried inside, mindfulness tells you to think about this feeling, evaluate where this feeling is coming from, and separate your emotions from the situation. That split second of thought could give you clarity to realize you misinterpreted what she said and let those feelings go with that realization.
Fostering more healthy, compassionate, and nonjudgmental responses to daily life interactions can literally change your physical and mental wellbeing (and that is pretty cool).
There are many, so here’s a condensed list:
Increased life satisfaction
Increased relationship quality
Increased sense of meaning
Reduced mind wandering
Increased problem solving
Increased test scores
Improved immune function
Decreased chronic pain
Enhanced epigenetic regulation
Decreased levels of cortisol
Better sleep quality
Improve neural integration
These benefits are not limited to adults; children also benefit tremendously from mindfulness. It can help with academic results, their mental health, and foster resistance and character building.
The options are limitless. A simple Google of “practice mindfulness” will give you hundreds of results. Let me make it simple for you though.
Check out these links of some great mindfulness practices, by me and many others!
I love doing this meditation while waiting at an appointment or sitting in line to pick up the girls from school; it is such a great meditation for when you only have 5-7 minutes for yourself.
Even a few minutes a day can make a huge difference.
This article gives you more information on mindfulness and has a list of fantastic techniques you can use to improve your mindfulness daily.
This article has fantastic, quick exercises that you can do with your kids to practice mindfulness with them while decreasing your feelings of stress and anxiety.
RAIN: Recognize, Acknowledge, Investigate, Nature Awareness
We explain this meditation practice in more depth in our blog post about self-compassion.
This meditation is great to practice every day or when you are experiencing extreme emotions or trying to cope with a difficult situation.
Breathing exercises are great for tuning into your body and mind. Try my square breathing practice on the membership site!