Mindfulness Techniques for Your Mental Health

Life gets busy, you constantly are running from one place to the next, the hustle and bustle of life is stressful and sometimes it gets hard to stop and think. You may have heard about the practice of mindfulness recently, as it has been growing in popularity in the past decade, and you may have wondered what it was, and if it might be right for you? Definitely, yes! mindfulness is beneficial for everyone. It is part of the positive psychology movement, and its purpose is to help people live in the moment. Mindfulness is a state of awareness that continually improves the more you perform the practice.

What is so good about living in the moment? Based on studies by the American Psychology Association (APA) the benefits are many. Mindfulness reduces rumination, meaning people who practice mindfulness will decrease obsessive thoughts about certain situations. By practicing mindfulness, one can figure out “why am I thinking about this issue? Or, what are my feelings about this issue?” By being self-reflective, a result is that you might then be able to let the issue go. mindfulness reduces stress, and increases positive feelings. It boosts memory, and focus.  A person practicing mindfulness will be able to focus better because he/she has learned to live in the moment.  A person practicing mindfulness can concentrate better without other factors disrupting his/her attention, such as the awkward situation that happened on the bus yesterday. mindfulness can also help with one’s relationship satisfaction because it will help improve communication with a partner, and help to reduce the stress that comes with relationships. The practice also helps with self-control, objectivity, emotional intelligence, and mental clarity. The studies done on mindfulness that support the benefits are plentiful.  It is proven that by taking time to reflect, a person can free his/her mind of concerns opening up the possibilities for success.

At this point you are probably saying, “Wow this sounds great. How do I get started?”  mindfulness is sometimes said to be a way of living, meaning one is constantly living in the moment, and taking time to be aware of his/her thought process, feelings, and behaviors; however, you don’t need to make it your lifestyle for it to be effective. Start off by practicing mindfulness 10 minutes before you go to sleep every night and you will soon feel its benefits. Then once you get used to that, it will become second nature to use mindful thinking throughout your daily life. There are many variations of the mindfulness practice, depending on what you are working towards. There are body check-ins, where you will focus your attention starting with the top of your body, traveling down to your feet, noticing how your body feels, and relaxing each muscle. There are breathing exercises, where you either focus on breathing a certain way, or count your breaths. There are also mindfulness techniques that are geared to broaden your perspective, gain resilience, or to fall asleep. There are many videos on the internet, and apps for mobile devices, for people on the go to use to guide them through the practice. Then once you learn how to perform the practice, you can simply set a timer, and customize your mindfulness to what suits you, without being guided.

Winifred BancroftComment