Mind Full, or Mindful?

Art: Henck van Bilsen

Art: Henck van Bilsen

One of my favorite relaxation techniques is my daily walk. I can always walk away my stress. When I’m walking, I find myself very present. I’m looking at the trees and mountains, listening to the birds and creek, taking in all of my surroundings. In essence, my walk is a mindfulness practice for me. I’m able to let the past go and pause in my planning for the future. I am in the present moment and it’s so calming and grounding!

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming more fully aware of the present moment rather than dwelling in the past or thinking of the future. Many of us live with our “minds full” instead of “mindful” lives. We are often multi-tasking, while reviewing our “to-do” lists, worrying about tomorrow and fretting about yesterday. When you are mindful, you are “in the now”. You notice what is happening as it takes place – you are more present, you can avoid being on autopilot or being focused on the past or anxiously awaiting the future. This awareness of the present can help you respond rather than react to situations and cultivate a greater sense of calm, well-being and resilience.

Some of the benefits of practicing mindfulness…

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Increased emotional stability and resilience
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved focus and attention
  • Improved cognitive function

Mindfulness can be achieved through a formal practice like meditation. You can also practice informal mindfulness through your daily life by simply focusing on the present moment in whatever you are doing. Try incorporating mindfulness and being present when… driving, showering, working, exercising, cleaning, listening to others, and walking.

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