The Surprising Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

Let’s talk about mindfulness for a moment. Simply put, mindfulness is about being mindful and living in the moment. Think of it as taking the time to pause and smell the roses. It’s about blocking out the distractions and noise. It’s about focusing on something specific.

Practicing mindfulness has some great benefits. At the top of the list, of course, is that we feel less stressed. One of the reasons we feel stressed is because we are pulled in many different directions and constantly bombarded by new information, media and demands. Practicing mindfulness allows you to tune out the noise and give your mind a break. This, in turn, helps you relieve stress. By making mindfulness a part of your daily routine, you can begin to permanently reduce stress and negate some of its negative side effects.

Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. You don’t have to engage in long mindfulness meditations unless you want to. You can start with some very easy and simple things. Take mindful eating, for example. Instead of eating in front of the TV or looking at your phone while munching on a slice of takeout pizza, try this instead. Get out a plate and put your food on it. Arrange the pizza slices and maybe add a small salad. If you’re feeling fancy, grab a knife and fork. Sit down at the table and put your phone away. Focus on the food. What does it look like? What does it smell like? How does it taste? Savor each bite and pay attention to how your body begins to respond. Not only is it a great way to relax, you’ll find that you get much more out of each meal, and eating this way prevents you from overindulging.

Another great way to practice mindfulness is to do mindfulness meditation. Focus on your breathing and notice how the air flows in and out of your lungs, how it feels as it flows in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your abdomen.

You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere. The hardest part is remembering to do it. Create one or two small rituals that focus on mindfulness. Maybe it’s a simple meditation in the morning or mindfulness with your first cup of coffee. Maybe it’s an after-dinner walk where you can practice being mindful of your surroundings and the beauty you encounter. Give it a try and start reaping the many short- and long-term benefits of mindfulness practice.

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