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Practicing Mindfulness

by Jennifer Snow

Mindfulness techniques of mediation, guided meditation, or body scan helps to improve your health and well-being, it allows you to be aware of how you are feeling in the moment. The skill of practicing mindfulness can be used in your daily life to improve your quality of life. There are two concepts of mindfulness which are being aware of your present moment and having a non- judgmental attitude. The benefits of practicing mindfulness consist of reducing anxiety, stress, insomnia, and depression. It can improve attention span, sleep, some health issues such as high blood pressure, helps to balance the nervous system, and boost brain function. Mindfulness can bring self-reflection, self-regulation, development of empathy, and better management of emotions. You can take mindful breaks during your day by setting aside 1 to 5 minutes to practice focusing on your breathing in and out, clearing your thoughts and then returning to the present moment. If you are unsure if mindfulness is for you, keeping a journal of how you feel before and after can assist in self-awareness and self-reflection to see how you have grown in this process.

  1. Steps to get started:
  2. Find a quiet, calm place to sit. Having a regular time set aside each day to practice will help to get you in the routine of practicing mindfulness
  3. Start out practicing mindfulness for about 5 or 10 min and increase time up to one hour as desired.
  4. Sit in a comfortable position such as sitting with your legs crossed, sitting in a chair, kneeling, or laying down
  5. Start by breathing in and out and focus on your breath
  6. If your mind begins to wander go back to focusing on breathing in and out, don’t judge yourself for allowing your mind to wander.
  7. Ways to use mindfulness:
  8. Meditation/sitting mediation focuses on breathing. It helps the mind to come to rest, let go of unwanted thoughts, and be present in the moment. Guided meditation can be used the same way with someone helping to guide your thoughts. There are free guided meditation websites that can be used or apps that can assist you with this. Another popular mindfulness technique used is body scan. This increases the ability to track body sensations. There are also free website resources that can be found to use body scan.  
  9. Body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body (Mayo Clinic, 2018).
  10. Sitting meditation. Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt your meditation, note the experience and then return your focus to your breath (Mayo Clinic, 2018).

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