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Mindfulness is a majorly hyped buzzword these days. It represents a state of tranquility, serenity and calm that can be achieved by being present in the moment of ‘here’ and ‘now’. It has a way of seeming complicated, but in reality it’s easily attainable through a few quick techniques that are designed to put our minds at ease and keep stress at bay.
We tend to think of mindfulness as a pursuit of enlightenment or as deep meditation; but in reality, it requires minimal time and commitment if practiced properly.
How to be Mindful?
Mindfulness is possible for all of us, even if we can't take two weeks off for a silent retreat. And the best thing? There is no way to fail at mindfulness, which is one of its many gifts.
The first step is to understand what's meant by mindfulness: It's about choosing to pay attention to the present moment in a curious and nonjudgmental way. The most effective way to get better at noticing when you've left the present moment is to practice mindfulness in small ways as often as you can. Here are some simple tips to get you started:
Start when it's easy. Many people get interested in mindfulness as a way to deal with stress or difficult situations, and this is a great idea. However, you may also start with the pleasant moments, and you'll be ready to deal with life's challenges when they come your way.
Breathe whenever you can. Breathing is a key mindfulness practice because it is something we always do out of necessity, and it's also a good way to bring our awareness back to the here and now. With each inhale and exhale, think ‘here’ and ‘now’.
Ground yourself physically. Sit down or put your hands flat on the counter or a table or keep a small stone handy and run your fingers across it. These and similar actions will bring your awareness into the present by consciously noticing how those surfaces feel.
Slow Down. Savor whatever you’re doing at the present moment. Deliberate and thoughtful attention to daily actions promotes healthy focus and can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Eat Mindfully. Eating your meal without the TV, computer or paper in front of you, where you can truly taste and enjoy what you’re eating, is good for your mind and body.
Keep Phone and Computer Time In Check. To avoid information overload, set boundaries for screen time and do your best to keep mobile devices out of reach at bedtime.
Spend Time In Nature. Take walks through a park, the woods, mountain trails or by the beach – wherever you can be outside. Getting outdoors keeps you in the present.
Keep it short. Our brains respond better to bursts of mindfulness; so while 20 minutes seems to be the golden standard, you can start at 5 minutes, multiple times a day.
As you practice moments of mindfulness on a regular basis, you will notice that they come more naturally and easily to you. You'll be more likely to slow down at critical moments in the day, and you'll find it much easier to take a few deep breaths and relax.
Here are a few of our favorite mindfulness resources recommendations:
Websites and apps
We think you're 100% prepared to be mindful now. But remember, mindfulness isn’t a luxury- it’s easily attainable with minimal effort. We encourage you to definitely try it now, because it’s a practice that trains your brain to be more efficient and better integrated, and it minimizes stress so your everyday activities, thoughts, attitudes/perceptions are more balanced and well-rounded. Yay!