A quick search of ‘mindfulness’ on www.indigo.ca provided me with over 1000 books on this subject. Mindfulness is not a new concept, but it is now a hot topic that many people are buying into – and they should!

Mindfulness has been associated with benefits in various health domains, such as mood and anxiety, cancer, pregnancy, and even daily stressors.

The benefits of practicing mindfulness include:

  • Improved self-control and self-regulation
  • Objectivity
  • Affect and distress tolerance
  • Enhanced flexibility in thinking
  • Improved concentration and mental awareness
  • Emotional intelligence
  • More aware of options available in various situations
  • Making values-based decisions
  • Greater self-efficacy

So, what is mindfulness anyway?

According to www.dictionary.com, mindfulness is a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.

Trust me, the practice of mindfulness is harder than it sounds. As human beings, we are wired to make quick judgments and live in the past or future instead of the present. We tend to engage in multi-tasking, rushing through daily activities without much thought, and are distracted easily. However, becoming more mindful is not impossible.

Here are some practical tips to help you become more mindful:

  • Do daily activities slowly. For example, when washing the dishes, pay attention to how the warm water feels on your hands, how the bubbles change colours, and be grateful to the fact that you were able to eat delicious meals off these dishes.
  • Build up a meditation practice. Not everyone can sit in silence for 30 minutes being mindful. Know yourself and build up. Even starting with 5 minutes is better than nothing. Also, try out guided meditations. I find them extremely helpful to keep me in the present moment. My favourite morning meditation is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgV8uXQGVWM, but play around and find ones that work best for you.
  • Set aside a specific time in your day where you will practice mindfulness. This way you know that (for example) after breakfast is your time to have peace and quiet to be in the present moment. Train your mind and body to slow down and take a few moments to be mindful.
  • Join a mindfulness meditation group. Many workplaces are incorporating mindfulness into meetings and lunch breaks. Try it out and see if it helps.
  • Eat mindfully. Take the time to notice the flavours, the textures, the sensations of fullness while eating. Not only will it make you more relaxed, you may just appreciate the food even more. Also, mindful eating has been associated with weight management because we’re not just scarfing down our meal mindlessly, disregarding satiety levels.
  • Try mindful colouring. Have you noticed that adult colouring is in style now? Spending time to focus on the present moment of colouring zen tangles and mandalas can help you slow down your thoughts and improve concentration.
  • Use mindfulness apps. There are many free apps that you can download on your phones or tablets which will assist you in becoming more mindful. They may include calming music or guided meditations.

Sources:

Davis, D.M., & Hayes, J.A. (2011). What are the benefits of mindfulness? A practice review of psychotherapy-related research. Psychotherapy, 48(2), 198-208.

Donald, J.M, Atkins, P.W.B, Parker, P.D., Christie, A.M., & Ryan, R.M. (2016). Daily stress and the benefits of mindfulness: examining the daily and longitudinal relations between present-moment awareness and stress responses. Journal of research in Personality, 65, 30-37.

About the Author

Tara is a wellness blogger for the Local Biz Magazine who is in the process of writing her memoir on finding hope and meaning while living with a mental illness. Tara loves the concepts of positive psychology, incorporating them into every aspect of her life and spreading the message on the science of well-being.