Lots of people are asking me what mindfulness means and why they should care about it. Mindfulness is the ability to notice what’s happening right now, and not get overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s about being present now, and paying attention to the present moment and living with kindness towards ourselves and others. It’s not about stopping all negative thoughts always, because that’s not realistic. It’s about knowing that we can acknowledge those thoughts, and then release them. They don’t control us or define us. We have the power over how much we want to focus on a thought or event. We can make a choice not to worry about yesterday or tomorrow, and to be happier and healthier. Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) is a great tool to learn when we’re young so that we can use the techniques whenever we need them throughout our lives.
Yes, there are lots of tools, like yoga, meditation, and breathing, and they are all good. Breathing is good because it’s calming, so we can inhale and exhale slowly. If thoughts come, it’s okay, the trick is to let them go, and come back to the breath. But there are so many ways, other than a breathing practice, in which we can be more mindful. For example, we can be mindful by focusing on one sound in a song, like the guitar, or we can be mindful when we eat, and notice how something tastes. There are mindful art activities and self-reflection activities. I like to listen to music while I’m golfing. It’s helps feel peaceful, which spreads to my family and friends.
Science has shown that mindfulness helps the healing process. Mindfulness helps increase clarity, tolerance, emotional intelligence, and compassion. It helps to boost immunity, help kids deal with stress, and teach wellness, peace and positivity.
But it takes practice to live mindfully, so that when stressful things happen, and they will!–you’ll already have the tools to help you deal with it. Even practicing for 5 minutes every day can help. You can do it when you’re feeling stressed and no-one will even know you’re practicing.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our learning and resources pages, including mindful organizations, scientific studies, and videos.
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