By Dr. Jo Wolthusen, Psy. D.
All too often we ruminate over the past- the “would haves” or “should haves”, or we worry about the future – the “what ifs?” if you are constantly stuck in the past or worried about the future, then you are not LIVING IN THE PRESENT! Mindfulness is to be aware of what is happening RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, in the present moment.
Besides being more “Zen-like”, the benefits of practicing mindfulness are countless, including decreased stress, improved memory and concentration and increased emotional stability. The easy part is you can practice being more mindful anytime, anywhere. From staying calm when stuck in that annoying gridlock traffic to simply washing the dishes, you have the ability to be more mindful Being fully present in the moment, regardless of what you are doing, creates a state of mindfulness.
Here are 3 easy ways to practice Mindfulness to get you started:
- Minute Breathing MindfulnessSet a timer for 60 seconds. For this minute, direct all your focus to your breathing. Leave your eyes open and breathe normally. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breathing. You can use this exercise throughout the day to restore your mind to the present moment.
- Practice Mindful EatingWe seem to always be on the run in our fast-paced culture. Who hasn’t taken a quick spin through our local fast-food drive-thru to eat our dinner while driving to our next destination?Instead, try living in the moment while eating your meal. Stop and actually chew each bite. Ask yourself how the food actually tastes. Is it salty? What is the texture like? Sit down and actually savor your next meal!
- Start a Gratitude JournalWe often get into the habit of complaining or focusing on what is wrong. Instead, take time out each day to recognize the good stuff! Either write in a journal or get a gratitude app for your phone. Each day, write down at least 3 things that were positive, or that you were grateful for or appreciative of. This simple practice can really transform how you see your world!
For further resources, Check out:
~Soundstrue.com. Look at the link for “Mindfulness Daily” with Jack cornfield and Tara Brach
~”Mindfulness Made Simple”, article by Christopher Bergland