mindfulnesssigns 477248512 682x408

THRIVE

Discover the benefits of mindfulness

Life is busy. Seemingly, we're multi-tasking at all time. You may find yourself washing dishes while keeping one eye on the kids and the other on the television. Or maybe you plan your day while listening to the radio and driving to work. Did you notice the kids' artwork on the fridge, and how it's changed over the last year? Did you take the time to notice the crispness in the morning air or how green everything is with the recent rains? In the rush to complete daily tasks while planning the next tasks, you may find you're losing your connection with the present.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health attitudes and behaviors.

While there is more than one way to practice mindfulness, the goal of any technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment.

What makes mindfulness so valuable is that it requires a small investment of time and effort to bring about this relaxation. It only requires you to move away from a focus on the future, or an attempt to multitask, and toward the world around you.

Take a minute to think about the following techniques: 

Sensory
Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. Name them "sight," "sound," "smell," "taste," or "touch" without judgment and let them go. Just connect with the world around you, noticing such things as the sounds in the room, the temperature, the feelings of your hand on a table or feet in your shoes. Just notice.

Body sensations
Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.

Emotions
Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: "joy," "anger," "frustration."

Urge surfing

Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.

Basic mindfulness meditation
Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or "mantra" that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.

Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness at each moment. It involves being kind and forgiving toward yourself. By practicing accepting your experience during meditation, it becomes easier to accept whatever comes your way during the rest of your day. Slow down. Look. Listen. Breathe.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Share this article

MORE LIKE THIS

Brain power: Is it the best medicine for labor pain?

Continue reading

EMPOWER YOURSELF


Get fun, inspiring, provider-reviewed articles sent to your inbox.

Sign up for our email newsletter