Research has shown that practicing mindfulness may reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.

The practice of cultivating mindfulness is associated with psychological well-being. Mindfulness focuses attention on breathing and developing an increased awareness of the present. When you are mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. Studies have shown moderate physical and mental benefits for patients who engage in mindfulness and meditation practices.

What are the benefits of practicing mindfulness and meditation?

Research suggests that mindfulness practices may help to people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem. Finding time for mindfulness in our culture can be a challenge. We tend to place great value on how much we can do at once and how fast.

How do I start a mindfulness practice?

Being more mindful is within anyone’s reach. You can practice mindfulness throughout the day, even while answering emails, sitting in traffic or waiting in line. Choose to become more aware of your breath, of your feet on the ground, of your fingers typing, of the people and voices around you. Becoming more mindful requires commitment and practice. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Take some deeps breaths. Breath in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for 1 second and then exhale through the mouth to a count of 5. Repeat often.
  • Enjoy a stroll. As you walk, notice your breath and the sights and sounds around you. As thoughts and worries enter your mind, note them but then return to the preset.
  • Practice mindful eating. Be aware of taste, textures and flavors in each bite, and listen to your body when you are hungry and full.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Please remember this information is intended for educational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice from a healthcare provider.