What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness: a state of nonjudgmental awareness of what’s happening in the present moment, including the awareness of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and senses.
Components of Mindfulness
Awareness. During a state of mindfulness, you will notice your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations as they happen. The goal isn’t to clear your mind or to stop thinking—it’s to become aware of your thoughts and feelings, rather than getting lost in them.
Acceptance. The thoughts, feelings, and sensations that you notice should be observed in a nonjudgmental manner. For example, if you notice a feeling of nervousness, simply state to yourself: “I notice that I am feeling nervous”. There’s no need further judge or change the feeling.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety
Greater satisfaction within relationships
Improved memory, focus, and mental processing speed
Reduced rumination (repetitively going over a thought or problem)
Improved ability to adapt to stressful situations
Improved ability to manage emotions
Note: Mindfulness is a state of mind, rather than a particular action or exercise. However, without practice, mindfulness is difficult to achieve.
These techniques are designed to help you practice.
Sit in a comfortable place, and begin paying attention to your breathing. Notice the physical sensation of air filling your lungs, and then slowly leaving. When your mind wanders— which it will—simply notice your thoughts, and turn your attention back to breathing.
Pay close attention to the physical sensations throughout your body. Start with your feet, and move up through your legs, groin, abdomen, chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, and face. Spend anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute on each body part.
While walking, make a point to practice mindfulness. Start by noticing how your body moves and feels with each step. Then, expand your awareness to your surroundings. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Feel? This technique can also be expanded to other daily activities.
Make a conscious effort to notice the present moment through each of your senses.
5 things you see
4 things you feel
3 things you hear
1 thing you taste
1 thing you smell