Throughout the month of May, we’re sharing mental health resources and tips. This week, we’re spotlighting mindfulness—a tool that can help us cope with and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being intentionally aware of what’s happening within and around us. It’s paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, bodies, and surroundings. When we practice mindfulness, we have an opportunity to accept the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that we experience without attaching labels — like “good,” “bad,” “right,” or “wrong” — to them.
What are the benefits?
Mindfulness can improve our mental health. When we are anchored to the present moment, we tend to spend less time worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Studies show that regularly practicing mindfulness can reduce stress, increase our ability to focus, make us more resilient, increase happiness and joy, and help us cultivate self-compassion and compassion towards others.
How can I practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and while doing anything. If you’re interested in trying mindfulness, check out these common exercises:
- Mindful Breathing: This exercise gives us a chance to focus on the breath and the sensations that accompany breathing.
- Mindful Walking: Like to walk outside? This exercise invites us to be immersed in the present moment while walking.
- Body Scan: This exercise draws attention to different areas of our bodies.
- Mindful Eating: We tend to multitask while eating and eat quickly. Mindful eating can help us savor our food.
“Less Stress, More Happiness: How Mindfulness Can Combat Stress.” Healthy E-Living Blog, 12 Apr. 2021, www.chestercountyhospital.org/news/health-eliving-blog/2021/april/how-mindfulness-can-combat-stress.
“Mindfulness Defined.” Greater Good Magazine, The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition.