Experts recommend mindfulness for everything from maximizing workouts to managing anxiety. But, you may wonder, what exactly is mindfulness and how does one practice it?
Like a car that needs regular maintenance to run well, the mind works better with regular mindfulness maintenance. The vast majority of us hurdle through our days on cruise control, constantly bombarded by stressful thoughts and innumerable distractions. By taking just a few minutes each day in mindfulness, we can reset the mind’s electrical circuits, gain insight into why our engines are sputtering, and apply small mental tune-ups that increase health and happiness.
The practice of mindfulness involves maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings and physical experiences. It can be done lying down, seated or even moving. For example, when walking mindfully, you focus on the feeling of your feet touching the ground, the air on your face, the sights around you, and the sounds you hear. You notice thoughts that come and let them pass. You notice the emotions that arise, and let them pass.
Mindfulness can be a good way for someone to begin exploration of meditation, as it does not require that you completely “clear” the mind. Instead, you focus more carefully on whatever you are doing, and that focus can take you out of feelings of anxiety and put you in a calmer state. With long-term practice, you can learn to dis-identify with your thoughts and worries and find a more consistent sense of peace.
If your negative feelings seem beyond what mindfulness has to offer, Heartland Family Service offers a free and anonymous mental health screenings.