What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mind-body practice based on Buddhist meditation techniques, which was popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention to the experiences occurring in the present moment, including thoughts and feelings, without judging them good or bad. It involves living in the moment and being aware of the experience. Mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to what is happening now, in the present moment.
Who can use mindfulness?
Anyone can do mindfulness practice and everyone can benefit from mindfulness strategies. Find ways to cultivate strategies that work best for the individual. Even children and adolescents can practice mindfulness with some modification to the exercises or strategies.
What are the benefits of practicing mindfulness?
Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques can effectively reduce symptoms in many health conditions including chronic pain, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders. Mindfulness can improve well-being, physical health, and mental health including:
- Relieve and lower stress
- Reduce chronic pain
- Improve sleep
- Increase body awareness
- Increase self-awareness
- Improve regulation of emotion
- Improve regulation of attention
How can I begin practicing mindfulness?
Begin by setting aside time to practice. That’s it! After setting aside some time and space, begin to observe the present moment without judgement. If the mind wanders, as it will, return to the present moment. Do not judge yourself when the mind wanders. Recognize that your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back to the present moment by focusing on the breath.
Keep in mind that mindfulness takes practice. Be patient with yourself as you begin. It is normal for the mind and thoughts to wander during any mindfulness exercise or strategy.