At some point in time, I would bet that you have heard the word 'mindfulness.' We often throw around the word without knowing what exactly it is, what the benefits are, and how we can incorporate in our lives. Mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” Being mindful is not as complicated or involved as we think. It is literally the practice of being present and aware of each moment.
So why does it matter if we practice mindfulness? Well, it has been proven to have a multitude of benefits, here are just a few:
Reduced overthinking: it increases your ability to focus and control your thoughts which leads to less overthinking. With mindfulness, you can also gain insight into what scenarios or people cause you to overthink.
Reduced feelings of anxiety and depression: practicing can help change the way you interpret events that can lead to a reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms.
Less emotionally reactive: being mindful teaches you to focus on the facts of situations while not getting stuck in all the emotions and stress tied to those situations.
Realizing what makes you tick or get ticked: mindfulness increases your insight into your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It also reveals your limits and boundaries.
Increased memory and focus: being mindful increases your ability to focus attention and remember information.
There are many more benefits of mindfulness, these are just five examples. So, what can you do to be more mindful during the day?
Observe: bring awareness to anything you are smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, or doing. Notice any thoughts or feelings you are having. Do not try to change or label the thoughts and feelings, just observe they are there.
Describe: after you become aware of your internal and external environment put labels and words to describe what you are experiencing. Do not label anything as ‘good or bad’ just describe sensations and feelings as they are.
Participate: throw yourself 100% in whatever task you are doing. If you are walking outside, focus only on walking and what you are experiencing while walking. This way you can truly being to index how certain things make you feel.