Mindfulness, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” According to the Mayo, Clinic mindfulness is a type of meditation. Meditation is the process by which a person can intimately learn the interworkings of his or her own mind. Physiologically, regularly practicing mindfulness can result in an individual lowering his or her blood pressure, can help to improve one’s heart rate, and can even help to improve one’s breathing. One study found that individuals who regularly practiced mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, throughout the study lowered the thickness of their arterial walls. This finding implies that these individuals have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. There have been studies that indicate the tranquility effects of practicing mindfulness can be directly correlated to a reduction in one’s stress levels, which can subsequently have a positive effect on one’s immune system.
How To Practice Mindfulness
The Mayo Clinic explains that the practice of mindfulness involves focusing on “being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment without interpretation or judgment.” There are myriad different ways to practice mindfulness. Consider the following tips to help get you started on your mindfulness journey:
- Observe your breathing: take a few minutes each day to cast your wandering thoughts aside and focus only on your breathing.
- Do one thing at a time: instead of attempting to multitask, try tackling one thing at a time. This can enable you the ability to provide your undivided attention to completing each task accurately and efficiently.
- Take regular mini breaks throughout your day: use these breaks to do a quick body check and see where you may be feeling tension, exhaustion, or any unwanted feelings. Add your focused breathing to your breaktime to release and let go of anything that you do not want in your mental, emotional, and/ or physical body and reenergize.
- Explore nature: to pull yourself out of coasting on autopilot during your day, go outside and get some fresh air. Take an intentional walk where you focus on how your body feels outdoors, notice the movements of your legs and areas of your body needed to continue your walk, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your feet, to the pace of your stride…etc.
The purpose of practicing mindfulness techniques is to help increase one’s ability to regulate emotions, which simultaneously decreases unwanted feelings such as stress, anxiety, and/ or depression. In our fast-paced world, it is important to take moments to check in with yourself and make sure you are appreciating where you are in the present moment and absorbing all life has to offer, which is exactly what practicing mindfulness techniques helps you accomplish.
The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.