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What is Mindfulness?



What is Mindfulness?

What's the use? We just end up arguing and it stresses me out. I don't have the energy to talk to her right now. Oh my, I have to finish this paper, study for midterms, and create a presentation all by tomorrow afternoon. There's just too much to do and I can't focus. Everything is so stressful.

Mindfulness is the practice of acknowledging what you're feeling without judging the emotions or sensations as you're feeling them. Why practice mindfulness? Well, it helps to direct attention away from stress or other negative thoughts.

 It can also help support good mental health by giving you a simple way to manage negative thoughts and emotions. You can practice mindfulness anywhere, at any time and produce a state of mindfulness meditation in many different ways. I've been using mindfulness on my breaks at work and after long, stressful days. I just find a quiet space to do it. Sometimes it's an empty room or in my parked car. Simple things like guided breathing techniques while sitting in traffic to more structured practices like body scanning or walking meditation can all promote relaxation and reduce stress. 

Here are some ways you can incorporate mindfulness into everyday activities. Pay attention, focus on sights, smells, sounds, and textures in your environment. Acknowledge each sense before focusing on the next one. 

Live in the moment. Don't think of things in the past or worry about the future. Concentrate on what is happening here and now. Accept yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Use gentle words for yourself like you would use for your loved ones. Focus on your breathing. Intentionally breathe in and out in a slow, calculated way. I found an app that helps me use mindfulness. 

I put on my headphones, and just focus on the audio to let my mind and body fully relax. Using these techniques may lead to some of the following mental health benefits. You might learn better ways to control your emotions and be able to handle stressful events more easily. It could even help to improve relationships with friends and family. Research suggests that people who practice mindfulness may be able to handle conflict more effectively. Mindfulness can allow us to be more present and self-aware. Many people recognize the benefits of mindfulness and even set time aside every day for more structured techniques. These could include body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs extended. From head to toe or toe to head. Slowly focus your attention on each area of your body.

 Pausing at each body part to become aware of the physical sensations and emotions you feel. Sitting meditation. In a comfortable seated position, breathe through your nose and focus your attention on each breath. If physical sensations or emotions interrupt, it's okay. Just acknowledge them and refocus on your breathing. Walking meditation. Slowly walk in a quiet place about fifteen feet in length. Become aware of the movements of your body and the sensation of your feet striking the ground. Continue walking until you reach the end of your path, then turn around and maintain constant awareness of each movement. During my first practice, I could not stop my mind from thinking of my to-do list. 

But as I kept practicing, I found myself more focused. Now I practice consistently, which allows me to disconnect from my stress and get me refocused on what I need to do. Mindfulness has reduced my stress, and helped me be more relaxed and open-minded when I have conversations with my mom. Try these mindfulness techniques and make them work with your schedule. Remember to be patient and continue to practice, as this may be able to help you in lots of ways. 


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