What exactly is mindfulness? To be mindful is to be more aware, open and present in the moment. Between the daily chaos and stress, it can be challenging to take a second and be tuned into your thoughts and feelings. Making an effort to practice being more mindful isn’t as hard as you may think.
Mindfulness is Important
Practicing mindfulness is important for self-growth. You can learn so much about yourself when you take time for yourself. Shifting your focus to what you’re thinking, feeling, or doing allows you to be more self-aware. Focusing on your surrounding is also practicing mindfulness. Think about what you see, hear, or smell. Sometimes the most convenient time to try practicing is during routine activities (i.e. during your school/work commute, before going to bed).
A difficult thing to remember is that practicing mindfulness most likely will not come naturally at first. Because we’re surrounded by constant distractions, it’s not often that you’ll get a moment to be alone with your thoughts.
Let’s Not Forget the Benefits!
- Feeling more centered/peaceful
- Better emotional reactivity
- Improves memory and focus
- Better relationships with oneself and others
Ways to Practice Mindfulness
Anything that can slow you down or refocus is being mindful. Here are a few things to try yourself:
- Mindful Breathing: Very simple and easy. This is simply focusing on your breathing.
- Concentration: Inhaling for 4 seconds, exhaling for 4 seconds. Take big, deep breaths.
- Body Awareness: Focus on what your body is feeling and doing; still paying attention to breathing.
- Surrounding Awareness: Focus on your surroundings and environment based off of your senses.
- Tension Release: In a sitting or lying position, practice mindful breathing while focusing on the tense areas of your body.
- Walking Meditation: Enjoying a walk while you focus on your breathing as well as your steps.