“What exactly is mindfulness?”

happiness mindfulness Jun 04, 2019

“What exactly is mindfulness?”

This is a question a client asked me earlier this week. As I explained it, it occurred to me that MINDFULNESS, is critically important, popular, but not well understood. So of course I was excited to teach you all about it too! 

In short, mindfulness is attention and awareness of the present moment.

To expand, it is thankfulness, peacefulness, and observing thoughts without judgement.

Mindfulness is not the same as meditation, though meditation is one way to achieve mindfulness. Mindfulness is the result of being present and in the moment. An example is sitting and being aware of your senses in the here and now. That is, taking a few minutes to sit quietly and only pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel (touch). 

Medical research has found that achieving mindfulness for a few minutes a day (usually 5-20) can improve mood, happiness, longevity, memory and concentration, work productivity, and physical health. The impact is actually quite significant and actually astounding!

Part of why mindfulness is able to achieve all of these things is that the mind and body are undeniably strongly connected, so achieving mindfulness reduces overall stress reactions, improving an individual's baseline level of calm (in a good way!). Daily practice of mindfulness has lasting results, just like lifting weights or regular exercise has lasting results. 

Fun fact: A few minutes of mindfulness practice a day can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by 60%.

How to practice being mindful:

  • Focus on your breathing – sit quietly for 5-15 minutes and focus only on your breath.
  • Witness the outdoors- watch the wind blow the leaves of a tree, listen to a bird chirp, watch the grass grow (seriously, but only for a few minutes 😉)
  • Sit still and only pay attention to the experience of your 5 senses. 

Mindfulness is NOT thinking about the past or the future.

Mindfulness is being in the present -- in the here and now. Try it, you'll like it!

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