I’m writing this post about a very important topic: mindfulness. It is something near and dear to my heart, and I strive to practice it each and every day. I want you to be able to practice it, too, so that you can see all the wonderful benefits of it! Mindfulness has been a hot topic lately, and for good reason. It’s essential to living a happy, balanced life. Not entirely sure about mindfulness? Read on to find out what it is and how it can help you.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is nothing new. It has roots in Eastern philosophy (i.e. Hinduism and Buddhism) and has been practiced for thousands of years. Mindfulness has everything to do with present-moment awareness, and it involves bringing your thoughts, actions, feelings, bodily sensations, and attention to the very moment you are in. It means not thinking of the past and not worrying about the future. It brings you to a state where you can simply BE. Furthermore, it involves acceptance. Rather than judging the things you notice in a given moment as “good” or “bad” (for example, noticing your thoughts drifting to the past while practicing mindfulness and beating yourself up over it), mindfulness calls you to simply be a witness.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
There are so many benefits to practicing mindfulness—physically and mentally! In terms of physical benefits, some studies have suggested that mindfulness can improve the function of our immune systems, as well as sleep quality. Mentally, when we are practicing mindfulness, our thoughts and feelings tend to be more positive (it helps us live happier lives!), and it is excellent at combating anxiety and depression, which many people struggle with. It also improves our ability to focus, strengthens the parts of the brain that are involved with memory and decision-making, and helps us develop empathy. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I suggest doing some self-guided research to learn about many of the other ways mindfulness can help YOU in particular.
How can I practice mindfulness?
There are a variety of ways to practice mindfulness. One of my favorite practices is my mindful morning routine, which you can read about here. Another thing I love to do is sit outside on my balcony, listen to the rustling leaves of the trees in the forest behind my apartment building, watch the birds fly by, feel the cool autumn air on my skin, and take deep cleansing breaths. Connecting with nature in any capacity is a great way to practice mindfulness. However, if the outdoors aren’t for you, that’s okay, too. Next time you sit down for a meal, you can practice mindfulness. Simply focus on the tastes, textures, colors, temperatures, etc. of the food you are eating. Make it a point to really be in the moment and really enjoy each bite of your food. Avoid watching TV or checking your phone—simply be there, eat, and enjoy your food. On top of these things, it’s a great idea to simply sit or lie down, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for at least a few minutes every day. These are the things that will help keep you centered, help keep you in the moment, and lead you toward a life of peace and joy.
What are your favorite ways to practice mindfulness? Let me know in the comments!