How To Begin To Practice Mindfulness

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What is mindfulness and why should we practice it?

Mindfulness is our intentional awareness of the present moment. It is our ability to accept our current life situation, without judgment. Rather than harping on the past, or nervously anticipating the future, with mindfulness we work towards keeping ourselves fully in the present moment.  By being more mindful, we are gaining control of our own lives.

Top 3 ways to be mindful:

  1. Observe: Control your attention by wordless watching. Notice that which is occurring inside your body as well as in your environment.  Pay attention to all aspects of the present of the moment.
  2. Describe: Describe that which you have observed. If you cannot observe it through your senses, then you cannot describe it. While labeling your observations, make sure to do so in a non-judgmental way. Separate your interpretations, and instead, present the facts.
  3. Participate: Throw yourself fully into the experience. Become “one” with the experience.  Try not to hesitate, but rather be spontaneous!

Ready to give it a try? Here are 2 easy exercises you can try at home:

  1. Practice “observe” by wordless watching. Watch thoughts come into your mind and let them slip right by like clouds in the sky. Notice each feeling, rising and falling, like waves in the ocean.
  2. Practice “participate” while having a meal. While eating, turn off all distractions and focus on your meal. By slowing down and fully participating in this experience, you may notice that you obtain more satisfaction from eating than you previously had. Flavors, textures and types of food might become more appetizing. Or perhaps, you might observe something about your meal that you had not noticed before.

Once you give these exercises a try, let us know how they went! We have many more ways to help you practice your mindfulness skills.