Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state of nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings. It is about being present in the moment and observing your thoughts without getting wrapped up in self-judgement or worries about the past or future. Mindfulness can be used as a means to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. What are some ways that you can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life?

One way to practice mindfulness is to take a mindfulness walk. As you walk, pay attention to yourself – how your body feels and what thoughts are entering your mind. Be aware of your surroundings – use your five senses to pick up on things that you hear, see, smell, feel, and taste. Observe yourself and your surroundings without judgment. For example, you can observe that you are feeling anxious without ascribing negativity to it or judging yourself for feeling that way. Or you may simply observe and fully attend to each of your steps as you walk.

Another fan favorite is mindfulness meditation. This involves sitting comfortably and still. Pay attention to your breathing and observe the feeling of the air coming in and out of your airway. If thoughts enter your mind, take a moment to acknowledge them, and then re-center your attention back to your breathing. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to relax when feeling anxious.

Another great way to practice mindfulness is with body scan meditation. Start by laying on your back in a relaxed position with your arms by your side. Focus on each part of your body starting from your head and moving down to your toes. What sensations do you notice with different parts of your body? What thoughts and emotions come to mind as you work through this exercise?

Another useful mindfulness exercise is the 54321 grounding technique. This exercise can be particularly helpful in moments of distress, as it helps you bring your mind back to the present moment. Start by naming five things that you see – for example, your bed, a tree, a pet, a soft blanket, a poster on the wall. Next, name four things that you feel — the feeling of a soft sweater on your body, warm slippers on your feet, jewelry, a pet. Then name three things that you hear – birds chirping, wind blowing, the TV. Next, name two things you can smell – fresh air, a candle. Finally, name one thing you can taste – the snack you just ate, for example.

These are just a few of the ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life. The key is to practice both awareness and acceptance!

Have you ever used mindfulness? What are your favorite ways to practice mindfulness? How can you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life?

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