We live in an era of distraction and information overload. The average person constantly juggles multiple responsibilities while being inundated with texts, emails and many other kinds of interruptions. It’s easy to get pretty overwhelmed. Before you know it, you are living your life on autopilot, barely aware of what’s going on around you as you jump from one source of stimulation or one chaotic experience to the next.
While you might not be able to do much about all that’s going on around you, it’s possible to do something about your own reactions and how you feel about everything that happens to you. Mindfulness is a simple practice that can help bring calmness and peace to your life. The habit of practicing mindfulness is a great place to start if you’re trying to find a way to decrease stress and anxiety.
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What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is deliberately focusing your attention on the present moment. This means striving to grow in awareness of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. By getting in touch with the here and now, you can let go of the stress of regretting the past or obsessively worrying about the future.
Learning this practice can help you to reel in your mind when it wants to take flight and gently turn it back to this single moment in time. It’s not a new concept. Mindfulness has been practiced by many religions and cultures for thousands of years, and it has both physical and mental health benefits.
Mindfulness Tips for 2019 and Beyond
In 2019 and in the years to come, make a commitment to becoming more mindful. Getting in the habit of controlling your wandering mind may take some practice. You may need to start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time spent on this practice.
Other tips for being more mindful include:
- Consciously focus on the present moment. Start by focusing on your breath, and keep gently reminding yourself to return your attention to your breath.
- Gradually work on paying attention to other sensations in your body and what’s around you. Look at the sights nearby and appreciate what is beautiful. Listen to the sound of music or birds. Savor the scents of cooking or flowers. Embrace all that you can fully experience in this one moment.
- Allow yourself to have a few moments to just be, without rushing off anywhere or answering to anyone. Try to give yourself at least a few minutes away from cell phones or other interruptions and don’t worry about the time.
- If your thoughts start to wander or if you begin to experience feelings such as anger or fear, gently return your attention to this one moment in time. Experience the sensation of being safe and at peace right here and right now.
Turn Any Moment into a Mindful Moment
At any moment, you can choose to be mindful. Whether you are walking, sitting, resting or doing the laundry, pause and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. If you’re dwelling on the past, remind yourself that you can’t do anything about things that have already happened. If you’re worrying about the future, gently turn your focus back to the present.
Get in the habit of practicing mindfulness at different times throughout the day. You can practice mindfulness when you’re alone and when you’re with other people, when you’re eating and when you’re shopping. Continually remind yourself to notice your thoughts and feelings during all your activities. To be more mindful in 2019 and beyond, practice being present, aware and accepting in a single moment whenever you can.
Several major universities are now encouraging mindfulness practices. For more ways to learn how to incorporate mindfulness into your life, visit the following websites:
- Harvard University Mindfulness and Meditation
- UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center
- UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness
- UMass Medical School Center for Mindfulness
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health issues, please contact us at (855) 409-0204 or submit the form below and a treatment specialist will contact you.