The practice of being truly present in the now is known as mindfulness. Simply put, mindfulness is all about being conscious of yourself and your surroundings. This involves paying attention to the inner thoughts, desires, and outward bodily responses.
The process of being mindful also entails letting go of all preconceived notions about your emotions and feelings—there is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” thought; you actually become conscious of their nature.
Mindfulness has been shown in scientific research to have positive effects on our fitness, happiness, employment, and relationships. Let’s take a closer look at each of these advantages!
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
Improved Physical Health
Mindfulness has been shown to relieve depression, treat heart failure, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, increase sleep, and also improve digestion.
Better Mental Wellbeing
Professional psychotherapists have taken to mindfulness therapy to treat mental illnesses including addiction, drug misuse, eating habits, marital problems, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Positive Social Effects
People who practice mindfulness are less preoccupied with concerns about the future or regrets about pending decisions. Focusing on the here and now, they are able to enjoy the simple things in life and develop stronger bonds with others when they are not constantly overwhelmed by worries.
How to be Mindful?
It’s in the details
A large part of being mindful is being aware of and observing all that is going on around you. Stop what you’re doing and pay attention to the details you normally overlook.
When our friends speak to us, plenty of us tune out. But mindfulness requires careful listening and being present in the moment. So, no matter how long your friend has been ranting about her employer at work, listen!
Mindfulness entails paying attention to bodily feelings and how you are physically feeling. Ask yourself questions throughout the day. “What is the texture of the cloth like on your skin?” “When you run your fingertips into the tap water, how does it feel?”
Pay attention to the details of your breathing. What is the depth of your breathing? How quick are you inhaling and exhaling? Deep breathing that is regulated will help you relax and properly regulate your feelings and stress levels.
Clearly, mindfulness is something that all of us should practice and the rewards are limitless! If being mindful all of the time feels like too much of a challenge, start with 20 minutes of mindfulness practice every day.