What is Mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which prompted the birth of numerous research studies confirming the immense benefits of mindfulness-based interventions on mental and physical health:
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”
Mindfulness is a skill that helps you learn to be in the present, in the moment, in the here and now. Often our minds bounce back and forth between worries about tomorrow and re-plays of yesterday. The simple act of paying attention without judgment helps you build an awareness of yourself and the world around you. This increased self-awareness is the first step in changing unhealthy behaviors and regulating difficult emotions, which are typically the reasons that people seek out counseling at Mindful Soul Center for Wellbeing. With mindfulness, you can relate more directly to your life and create space between your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
How do I practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practiced in so many ways! Formal meditation, yoga, walking meditation, and focusing on your breathing are all ways that you can cultivate a mindfulness practice. A great starting place is committing to sit for just 5 minutes a day and focusing on your breath and body sensations. Think of this as exercise for your brain- every time you get distracted, you simply bring your attention back to your breath. Like strengthening your muscles by lifting weights, this strenghens your brain’s ability to focus, while also helping you calm down tough emotions and disconnect from the swirl of thoughts that give you stress throughout the day.
Nowadays, there are a lot of books, apps, websites, and devices that can help with mindfulness. Here are a few apps and devices that the staff at Mindful Soul have used personally and with our clients:
Stop, Breathe, and Think
Muse Brain Sensing Headband