Ever feel like you’re in a frenzied state of mind?
It happens. You’re stuck in rush hour traffic. You’re stressed out and running late. You’re worried about money.
Maybe there’s a personal or family matter taking a heavy toll on your happiness…maybe even your health. Or every day seems like there’s a sad or anxious cloud following you around.
Been there, done that? You’re not alone. But is there anything you can do about it? Yes.
Even though more than 30 million people in the United States practice mindfulness every day, it’s still a bit of a misunderstood activity.
- Do you sit cross-legged on a pillow and hum quietly to yourself?
- When you meditate, do you try and solve all your problems?
- Is it just for people who have an interest in spirituality?
- Does it require long periods of silence for hours a day?
- If you do it once to try it out, will it work?
The answer to all of these questions: No.
“It’s about paying attention in a systematic way,” says mindfulness expert Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.1
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. But instead of trying to problem-solve, mindfulness is simply being aware of what’s happening in the present moment.
Need a mindfulness moment? Do this to find out….
- Stop and pay attention to your thoughts for just a minute.
- Is your mind racing from one thought to the next? That’s typical. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Mindfulness can help you learn to focus your thoughts and be more aware of what’s really happening.
It takes consistent effort. But anyone can learn to practice mindfulness. It doesn’t cost anything. And you can tap into the benefits of mindfulness in just a few minutes a day.
Discover the health benefits of mindfulness
Is mindfulness just for the woo-woo crowd, or can it really improve your mood and your health? Mindfulness can help lower stress and anxiety. Research also shows a regular mindfulness practice can:2
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve mood
- Help you relax
- Improve sleep quality
- Reduce pain
- Promote creativity
- Control stress hormones
Plus, in just 10 minutes a day, mindfulness can change the way you think and feel to be happier, healthier, and more productive.
5 simple ways to practice mindfulness:
1. Read. Take a couple minutes to read about something that interests you. A book, article, or blog post, for example
2. Be active. Go outside, weather permitting. Take a brisk walk. Bike around the block. Jump rope. Or stretch your muscles. About 20 to 30 minutes of exercise will make a difference. Exercise helps improve your mood. It burns up stress hormones, and stimulates the mind to help you relax and think better about things.
3. Meditate. Sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Some people use this time to pray. Others simply focus on breathing for a few minutes.
4. Breathe. It might sound too simple, but it really works. Try it. Take 10 deep breaths. Inhale, then exhale…slowly. Deep breathing has a calming effect that can reduce stressful feelings such as anger, anxiety, and fear. Making this a regular habit can also help lower blood pressure and increase your energy level.
5. Write. Keep a journal. It’s a great place to write down your thoughts, feelings and events of the day. But there’s an easy way to make this more meaningful. Keep a list of things you’re grateful for, then review the list periodically.
Want to know how to stress less, be happier, and feel better? Create a daily mindfulness practice.
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