There are a lot of words floating around the wellness arena this year, and mindfulness is one of them. Perhaps you’ve heard your friends use the term. Maybe you’ve seen an ever-growing amount of articles on the internet discussing it. However, you may still feel in the dark about what mindfulness is and how it’s supposed to help you. Even if you know a bit about mindfulness, you may feel flummoxed as to where to begin when it comes to incorporating mindfulness into your daily life. If you’ve been experiencing any of these concerns, here are some helpful resources that can help you feel more confident about adding a little mindfulness to your life:
What Exactly is Mindfulness?
While the term may sound confusing, mindfulness simply means the practice of being actively aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present. Those that are focusing on mindfulness are focusing on keeping their thoughts in the “here and now,” as opposed to ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness also includes the practice of paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them. If you are engaging in a mindfulness practice, you will be taking in lots of information about your own mental and emotional state, but without punishing or congratulating yourself for your own thought patterns. Mindfulness allows for a heightened awareness of the emotions and ideas that run through your mind on a daily basis.
How is Mindfulness a Helpful Practice?
While mindfulness may not be helpful for everyone, it can provide significant benefits for those struggling with a lot of stress, anxiety or those battling depression. And, in today’s world, all three of these mental health issues have been on the increase over the past year or so. Society as a whole is dealing with social isolation, change, and increased stress on a wide scale. Mindfulness practices can help people struggling to manage their stress, combat anxiety and wade through depression. When using mindfulness strategies, the practice of paying closer attention to thoughts and feelings can help the person using them to become more aware of their current state and to deal with uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings with greater equanimity.
Where is a Good Place to Start with Mindfulness?
There are numerous mindfulness strategies that can be helpful to you as you go about your day. Even if starting a mindfulness practice seems overwhelming to you, you can start as simply as you’d like. One of the easiest mindfulness techniques to start with is taking a moment to simply focus on your breath and check in with your five senses. Sit still and listen to the sounds of your breath going in and out of your lungs. Pay attention to how your body feels and where you are in space. You can start by using this technique for one minute and slowly work up to longer mindfulness moments as you get used to this practice.