The practice of mindfulness is about being present in a given moment, and it’s something we can use in our daily lives. According to the National Institutes of Health, studies suggest that mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.
One large benefit of mindfulness is that it encourages you to pay attention to your thoughts, your actions and your body. You can practice mindfulness throughout the day, even while answering e-mails, sitting in traffic or waiting in line. All you have to do is become more aware-of your breath, of your feet on the ground, of your fingers typing, of the people and voices around you.
As we start to learn how to be more mindful, it’s common and normal to realize how much our mind races and focuses on the past and the future. You can just notice those thoughts and then return to the present moment. It is these little, regular steps that add up and start to create a more mindful, healthy life.
The concept is simple, but becoming a more mindful person requires commitment and practice. Here are some tips:
- Take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose to a count of four, hold for one second and then exhale through the mouth to a count of five. Repeat often.
- Enjoy a stroll. As you walk, notice your breath and the sights and sounds around you. As thoughts and worries enter your mind, note them but then return to the present.
- Look for mindfulness resources online or in your community, including yoga, meditation classes and mindfulness-based stress-reduction programs.