What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment and involves acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations and surrounding environment without judgement or self-criticism. In layman's terms... Live in the now and don't be so hard on yourself!

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Despite popular belief, you do not have to practice yoga or meditate in order to become mindful. You can achieve a state of mindfulness anywhere, anytime, doing any activity. All you must do is acknowledge your thoughts in the present moment, become aware of them, see them as just thoughts and release them. This acceptance and coming and going of thoughts can work wonders on your psyche. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) reports the following benefits of mindfulness practice:

  • Reduced rumination, or over-thinking and obsessing about situations or life events
  • Stress reduction
  • Boosts to working memory
  • Increased focus
  • Less emotional reactivity
  • More cognitive flexibility
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation

While mindfulness has roots in Eastern cultures, mainstream American culture has adopted the term and practice thanks to organizations like the APA.  Both traditional psychology, which works to relieve conditions like depression and anxiety, and modern positive psychology, which encourages scientific ways to increase people's well-being and satisfaction, believe that mindfulness has true and lasting healing effects.

How can you use mindfulness for psychological healing?

The healing effects of mindfulness practice come when you incorporate thought-questioning... Say you wake up one day feeling anxious or stressed out about an upcoming event. Simply recognizing your thoughts about the event doesn't make those feelings go away but if you ask yourself why you have those feelings, you can then get down to the root of the issue. You can accept that maybe you feel under-prepared, insecure, or afraid. Once you accept the root of your anxiety and stress you can implement a behavior, activity or positive thought process to relieve your uneasy feelings and press on with an increased sense of security and confidence. The more you practice this, the more you will be able to quickly nip negativity in the bud in any situation. 

How do you practice mindfulness?

It's important to note that achieving a more consistent state of mindfulness does not happen overnight. Like a lot of things in life, mindfulness takes time. You can practice mindfulness through a variety of activities, including meditation, walking, surfing, sewing, and even cooking and baking! The more you practice, the more you will see results and reap the many benefits. To get started on practicing mindfulness, head over to my 5 Starter Tips for Mindfulness.