Research shows that people who habitually practice mindfulness reap numerous health benefits. But what exactly is mindfulness, and why should it be a part of your daily routine?
Mindfulness is the term used to describe the ability to be completely present in the moment, aware of your surroundings, and fully engaged in an activity. Those who habitually practice mindfulness have experienced:
- Decreased stress
- Better responses to stressful situations and feelings
- Better overall emotion regulation tactics
- Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased immune function
- Improved attention, focus, and awareness
- Lowered depression and anxiety symptoms
While we all have moments of mindfulness each day, working to transform these moments into habits can improve our overall well-being. Here are some tips to start you on your journey to a more mindful life:
- Shift out of autopilot. It can be easy to slip into routine when working through tasks. Instead, try engaging one task at a time. Whether eating an apple or washing dishes, focusing on one task at a time keeps you mindful and engaged.
- Focus on your body. Take a moment to notice things you usually wouldn’t. Engage your five senses. Think about your breathing. Look inward, instead of outward.
- Let judgement go. No one is perfect! When difficult thoughts and emotions come up, acknowledge them, then release them.
- Wander, then refocus. As you reflect inward, your mind will inevitably wander. When this happens, accept it. Then, gently remind yourself to come back to your focus on the present and on your breath.
Although it can be difficult to engage in the present moment with life’s constant distractions, taking time out of each day to focus on yourself, your breath, and the current moment gets easier with practice. By challenging yourself to transform mindful moments into mindful habits, you can set yourself on track for a healthier life.
Comments and opinions are from Dr. Lindsay Henderson, Psy. D., alone. She is a licensed-psychologist who treats patients using LiveHealth Online Psychology.