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Do you ever find yourself with racing thoughts? Unable to take part and enjoy the present moment? As someone who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I find myself saying yes to those two questions on the daily. One thing that helps me to take a step back and slow down my thoughts is practicing mindfulness.
Spending a few moments everyday reconnecting with myself, my breath and the present moment is all it takes to help me recenter. Adding mindfulness into your life can help you to decrease stress, increase gratitude and improve your overall mental health.
I’ve been practicing mindfulness daily for over a year, and the tools I’ve learned help me every day to cope with my mental illness.
To jumpstart your journey in mindfulness I’ve created a guide that will teach you:
- What is mindfulness?
- Why is it beneficial?
- And, how to practice mindfulness in 7 easy ways.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of being aware in the present moment; of your thoughts, movements
The practice of mindfulness finds its ancient roots in Buddhism. The study of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) created in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn brought the practice to the modern medical world.
Jon Kabat-Zinn worked with chronically ill patients who were unchanged by traditional treatments. He began an 8-week study into mindfulness-based practices with them. The results were positive. Consequently, his approach is still practiced today!
Mindfulness is becoming a bigger part of mental health and overall wellness in America these days. As a result, many big-name celebrities practice routine meditation and mindfulness exercises. These celebs include Oprah, Katy Perry, and Madonna.
So why is it so popular:
Mindfulness helps our bodies by boosting our immune systems, reducing overall stress and improving sleep quality.
Our brains use mindfulness to reduce stress and negative emotions. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Practicing mindfulness helps entrepreneurs to be more creative, more confident and improve client interactions.
Many schools are beginning to utilize mindfulness practices to help both students and staff. As a result, they’ve noted improvement with focus, decreased behavioral problems and decreased depression.
7 Ways to Become More Mindful Today
1. Pay Attention to your breath
How are you breathing? Do certain emotions change the way you breath? Recenter your mind by taking three very slow breaths. Inhale deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Continue breathing naturally.
2. Perform a Body Scan
Bring attention to each part of your body. Then, scan one segment at a time from head to toe. Subsequently, take note of any sensations that you feel as you go through your scan.
3. Go for a Walk
Pay attention to the movement of your body, your breath,
4. Enjoy a Distraction Free Meal
Put away your phone. Shut off the TV. Chew each bite fully, so you can savor the flavor and textures of your meal.
5. Express Gratitude
You can express gratitude to yourself. Your body. The universe. The food you eat. And, the people in your life. You can express gratitude in many different ways. For instance, you can write down a few moments of gratitude each day. Similarly, you can keep a jar of gratitude and each day place a slip of paper with a note of gratitude inside. Voice gratitude to those around you.
6. Spend your morning phone free
Try starting the day off without your trusty sidekick. If you use it as an alarm, place it across the room. Don’t use it for social media, games or reading. Read a chapter in a book. Practice yoga. Savor your cup of coffee right away. Meanwhile, take note of any feelings you have about your phone without judgement.
Quieting your mind is a practice that can take time to master, however taking just 3 minutes to do so each day can help center yourself. First, sit comfortably. Secondly, close your eyes. Thirdly, breathe naturally. Fourthly, focus your attention on your breath and how your body reacts to each breath. Lastly, Push away any outside thoughts that surface and refocus on your breath.
Start small with a quick meditation and work your way up to more time to help grow your mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness is a great way to quiet your mind, appreciate the good in life, and recenter yourself. I try to meditate and practice gratitude each day. And I get outside at least 5 days a week. The time commitment is very minimal (approx. 10min a day) and this practice makes me so much happier!
Practicing mindfulness for me is a great act of self-care. Visit our other articles for more tips on self-care:
Do you practice mindfulness? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience with mindfulness.
Updated: 5/5/2019 by Summer