Mindfulness- Breathe Easy and Get Started

Mindfulness- Breathe Easy and Get Started

What is Mindfulness?   Breathe well and pay attention to your senses.

Mindfulness is a practice that has gained popularity in mental health in the past decade. While there are many definitions and suggestions about Mindfulness, the primary objective is learning to Be Present and Self-Aware. Practicing Mindfulness is complimentary with many therapeutic techniques, especially those focusing on the Mind, Body, Spirit connection. In a nutshell, mindfulness stresses the importance of living in the present, not looking toward the past or future, but learning to be fully present in the here and now.

The fastest way to begin engaging in mindfulness techniques is to focus on your breathing.  Pausing multiple times a day and taking three deep breathes is an easy way to get started.  When we breathe well with intention, our bodies respond with amazing results.  Oxygen to the brain and body will stimulate the relaxation response and can even quickly improve one's clarity.  Further, the action and positive results obtained by practicing breathing techniques creates an awareness of our ability to control our thoughts, stress response, and mental status through simple daily practices and routines.

Strategies to practice mindfulness in every day living are quite simple.  However, commitment to and engaging in daily mindfulness practices can be challenging. We live in a fast paced. future-focused culture that has not historically encouraged rest or praised " being present" as an accomplishment.  A commitment to incorporating mindfulness into our daily lives can be a large hurdle for many.  

Another easy exercise to assist in learning about mindfulness is slowly eating a piece of fruit using all of your senses: noticing  the texture, scent, taste and shape of the fruit.  Additional ideas for practicing being present include walking in nature, enjoying a relaxing bath, using scented candles and listening to music.  Each of these exercises encourages clearing your mind and focusing on what you are experiencing through your senses.  What do you see, feel, smell, hear?  Practicing these exercises daily can help to reduce stress and improve the quality of one's life.  When we mindfully slow down to enjoy a cup of coffee or take in a beautiful sunset, we are also practicing/experiencing gratitude.  Gratitude is well documented to be a key player in contributing to joyful living.

Being mindful and in the present is a skill that must be practiced every day for optimal physical and mental health.  To learn more about mindful living, visit sites dedicated to this subject alone.  Yoga and meditation classes are excellent ways to explore and practice the art of mindfulness.

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