Mindfulness - Buzzword or Reality?

There has been lots of talk on social media recently about mindfulness.  What’s the craze all about? 

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. It is now being scientifically explored and has, so far, been found to be a key element in happiness and lower levels of stress.

So, can paying attention to what is going on with you right now and accepting it without judgment really help?  The simple answer is YES!  Our unconscious minds have a tremendous effect on our actions, our moods and our general well-being.  So, getting in touch with our thoughts, feelings and sensations and simply noticing and releasing them without judgment can have a powerful impact.

Here is an easy mindfulness practice for you to start with:

  1. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  3. Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and your ideas.
  4. Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

Repeat this practice every day, if only for a few minutes, and you will be well on your way toward lower stress and increased happiness.

Danna Markson, LCSW