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  • Writer's pictureHannah Corrado

Mindful March - What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is not simply living in the moment. It is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” (mindful). This concept sounds simple; however, the average person’s mind wanders easily, which makes it much harder to achieve in practice. 

Mindfulness has many benefits for both our mental and physical health. When we practice mindfulness and pay attention to our bodies and thoughts in the moment, we reduce stress, enhance performance in multiple areas, and increase our attention span. It also helps us gain empathy and insight both into ourselves and others. The good news is that anyone can successfully obtain these benefits. They just have to practice. 

Here are a few tips on how to start practicing mindfulness:

  • Take a seat somewhere comfortable and make sure your body is in a position that will not become uncomfortable over time (if crossing your legs makes your legs sore, sit regularly in a chair). 

  • Let your hands fall onto your lap with your arms at your sides. Again, make sure it is a position you can stay in comfortably and make adjustments if needed.

  • Drop your chin slightly and let your gaze do what feels natural. Some like to close their eyes completely, others like to focus on a spot in the room they are in. 

  • Try to pay attention to your breathing and/or how your body feels. Some people just count their breaths and focus on their inhales and exhales; others notice what they can smell, taste, touch without moving, etc. Do what feels best. 

  • Stay there for some time. If you are new at this, start for five minutes or less and increase little by little whenever you try again. (5 minutes, then 6, then 7, etc). 

  • When you notice your mind wander, try to catch it as soon as you can and go back to focusing on your breathing or your body. Try not to judge yourself for getting distracted. It will happen. Notice it, and come back. The important part is that you come back. Your chores, responsibilities, and life can wait.

  • Some people like to journal afterward about their experience as a way to keep track of their breathing, the thoughts that distracted them, or how long they practiced. If this interests you, write what feels important to keep. 

Mindfulness takes time to achieve and a lot of practice. The important part is that you keep trying until one day, trying feels more natural.

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