Mindfulness- it's probably a word you've heard thrown around before but it's more than just a trendy buzzword. Mindfulness, in a nutshell, is the act of being fully present in the moment. It's paying attention on purpose and without judging or analyzing. Do you often find yourself running around, multi-tasking while also thinking about all the things on your to do list? That's the opposite of mindfulness. But have you ever been on the beach and been fully immersed of the feel of the sand beneath you and the sounds of the waves? That's mindfulness.
So why am I telling you about mindfulness? Because it's a simple yet incredibly powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Here are some of the benefits:
Reduces symptoms of anxiety disorders
Improves emotional regulation
Improves focus and attention
Helps to manage chronic pain
Sounds to good to be true right? There's a lot of research that, while mindfulness seems too simple to work, it really is a powerhouse tool. Even better is that there are a lot of different ways to practice mindfulness. You can go with the old fashioned closing of the eyes, clearing your mind, and chanting a mantra but I find that to be one of the hardest methods. It can really be as simple as just fully paying attention to what you're doing at the moment and when stray thoughts creep in (and they will) kindly and gently returning your focus.
Give one of these simple strategies a try to add some mindful moments in to your day.
JAMA Internal Medicine. Mindfulness Meditation Programs
American Psychological Association. Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Anxiety, Mental Stress
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The Neural Mechanisms of Mindfulness: An fMRI Investigation
Psychological Science. Mindfulness Meditation Improves Cognition: Evidence of Brief Mental Training