3 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness

Young-Woman-Mindfulness“Mindfulness.” We hear the word often, but what does it mean? And more importantly, what can it do for your mind and body to help you manage stress and anxiety?

Mindfulness is a practice in which you focus on the physical feelings of what you are doing and “being in the moment.” For example, walking mindfully means focusing on what you are feeling and seeing. You focus on the feeling of your feet touching the ground, the air on your face and the sights in front of you. Unfortunately, most people are doing the opposite. They are walking around thinking about all of the stuff they need to get done that day.

Often people don’t realize it, but it’s important to be mindful without judging your experiences as good or bad. Some people find mindfulness easier than other forms of meditation, because it does not require that you “clear” your mind. Instead, focus only on what you are doing moment by moment to reduce distraction and anxiety and put yourself in a calmer state.

Here are three easy ways to get started:

  1. Practice mindfulness while driving to work. Many people don’t like their commute to work, but it’s time when you might be by yourself and can be mindful of where you are, the traffic around you and the music you are listening to instead of stressing about the presentation or meeting you have that day. Take time to just focus on driving.
  2. Enjoy your lunch. Often, people work through lunch—typing emails while mindlessly consuming food. Even when busy, it is important to take time to pay attention to what you are putting into your body and how it makes you feel.
  3. Breathe. If you find yourself caught up in a stressful situation, take a moment to stop and focus on your breathing. You may find that you are able to relax your body and your thoughts if you pause and breathe deeply and evenly.

If you would like additional resources to support mindfulness in your life, we can help. Memorial Behavioral Health, formally known as Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, provides health and wellness services as a long-time affiliate of Memorial Health System. For additional resources, visit MemorialBehavioralHealth.org.