What is Mindfulness?
What is mindfulness and how can it help? Mindfulness is a concept that is oftentimes misunderstood and confused with meditation. Meditation is mindfulness, but not all mindfulness is meditation. The idea of mindfulness has existed almost as long as humanity itself. It is a concept widely accepted in many cultures around the world.
Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness
It is easy to go around the world mindless, which is the opposite of mindfulness. Mindlessness could be described as not paying attention to the present moment and what is around you. A picture of mindlessness could be a lot of people walking down a busy street with their phones in hand, an intense look on their face, and earbuds in their ears rushing to their destination, wherever that may be. Another picture of mindlessness could be someone eating dinner while watching a TV show, not realizing how much food they are eating regardless of what their body tells them because they are distracted.
Mindfulness could be seen as being actively engaged in the present moment. You can be mindful for a short period of time, a long period of time, or anything in between. It can be practiced while you’re waiting at a stoplight for the light to change by simply taking in the other things around you. Look at the other cars at the light, the trees across the street, or listening intently to the song on the radio. Mindfulness can be practiced through going to therapy by taking time out for yourself to talk to someone who can help you with whatever you are looking to explore about yourself.
Therapy can be a mindful experience because if you are not actively engaged in the moment during the session, you can become disoriented or dissociate, where you feel disconnected from your body and the present moment. It is a space where you have control of what is talked about, what is done and how you can become the person you want to be. Therapy is a safe space to learn about how to start to find ways in your life to become more mindful rather than being mindless.
20 Different Ways to be Mindful in Everyday Life
- Eating without distractions
- Intentionally staying away from technology
- Walking outside looking at nature
- Going to therapy
- Listening to music with earbuds in and nothing else
- Talking to another person without doing anything else
- Watching a movie without having your phone nearby
- Calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a while
- Looking out the window and exploring the view
- Drawing or coloring
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Notice what your body is feeling
- Wash the dishes
- Think about or write what you are grateful for
- Drink some water
- Leave a note for a loved one just because
- Practice sleep hygiene
Benefits of Being Mindful
There are many benefits to mindfulness, some of which you may already know. The more mindful we become, the easier it is to recognize thoughts that may or may not be helpful to us. Mindfulness can give our anxious thoughts a way to slow down because those thoughts haven’t stopped, we have become more aware of them which makes it easier to do something about it. It can also help us figure out what our priorities are and how to make the most of them in our day-to-day lives.
Mindfulness also gives us permission to just be, wherever we are in the moment. It encourages us to be okay with where we are right now. Over time, research has shown that mindfulness can actually help change our brains to be more positive. Change starts with one simple step, that step may be giving yourself 3 full deep breaths before you fall asleep tonight, eating your next meal without any distractions, or giving a loved one a warm hug.
Are you ready to take the next step in your journey and learn more about how mindfulness can help you live a more fulfilling life? Call or email us today to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians at 217-203-2008.
December 30, 2022