What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as the “awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Mindfulness helps us cultivate the ability to be fully attentive to the present moment, both internally and externally, in order to reduce the amount of time focused on the past and/or future. Our ability to be fully present through mindfulness practice can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety/depression and enhance our psychological and emotional well-being.
The main way to practice mindfulness is through regular meditation practice. Typically, meditative practices include sitting or lying down in a comfortable position, closing one’s eyes, and bringing attention to internal experiences, such as the breath. However, there are many additional ways to practice mindfulness, such as mindful eating, walking, or coloring. You can literally use mindfulness whenever and wherever you are...that’s the beauty of it!
Please consider the following when practicing mindfulness:
- Intention: Mindfulness is a purposeful activity that is practiced with intentional awareness. Try to schedule out 10 minutes a day for your mindfulness practice. Just as in any new activity, the more that you practice, the more natural it will become.
- Presence: Although mindfulness is the act of bringing your full attention to the present moment, it is not expected that you are present 100% of the time (that is impossible). Instead, it is the practice of leaving the present moment and intentionally bringing yourself back to the “now”, even if it takes you an infinite amount of times.
- Nonjudgmentally: One of the most important components of mindfulness is self-compassion. There is not a “right” or “wrong” way to practice mindfulness, just as there is not one way to be breathing. Mindfulness just “is”, without trying to change anything about the experience. This includes any thoughts, feelings, and/or bodily sensations that may arise while you’re practicing. Remember to be kind to yourself!
Mindfulness Activities to Practice!
- NETFLIX: Headspace Guide to Meditation Series
- Diaphragmatic Breathing (7.5 mins)
- Mindful Breathing (5.5 mins)
- Cascading Breath (10.5 mins)
- Five Senses (4 mins)
- Mountain Meditation (16 mins)
- Loving-Kindness Meditation (12.5 mins)
- Body Scan (30 mins)
- Mindful Walking (11 mins)
- Tai Chi (11 mins)
- Mindful Yoga (20 mins)
- Mindful coloring
Are you up for the Challenge?
We challenge you to practice mindfulness for just two to three minutes a day. This can be as simple as taking a few minutes to bring your awareness to your breath, to practice mindful listening with family/friends, and/or to engage in mindful cooking/baking! If you are up for an additional challenge, you are encouraged to track your mindful minutes through a mindfulness app, such as the Breathe App or Mindfulness Daily. Check out a list of other mindfulness apps here.