What is Mindfulness?
August 24, 2022
According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.” Mindfulness is the ability to be in the here and now.
Mindfulness can Promote:
- Self-awareness of one’s thoughts and emotions
- Increase insight
- Improve focus and performance
- Reduce stress.
Because people already have the capacity to be present in the here and now, mindfulness doesn’t require people to change who they are. When practiced, mindfulness can encourage people to live more consciously in the present moment which has health benefits and increases the general sense of wellbeing.
Mindfulness is evidence based. By being present, people can experience less anxiety and worry about the future and less distressing feelings about past experiences because they are focusing on the here and now. By practicing being present, people are able to savor life’s moments. After all, mindfulness is a way of living. By focusing on the moment, the mind is able to clear the mind and it’s grounding for the mind and body. There are techniques that are proven to help cultivate mindfulness.
Some Mindfulness Techniques Include:
- Lying down
Take for instance, a person sitting in a chair. The observer may begin by noticing the sensations with how it feels to sit in the chair or how it feels with their feet on the floor. They may notice what they hear, smell, or see. They may begin to focus on their breath and begin taking deep breaths in through their nose and out through their mouth and notice how their chest rises and falls when they breathe. This is being mindful.
Mindfulness can be practiced by using the senses such as aromatherapy. Another common mindfulness exercise is to take a mint or piece of candy and let it dissolve on the tongue, taking note of the sensations and the taste. A body scan is another mindfulness exercise which involves scanning the body from head to toe and observing any places of tension and then directing the breath to those areas. Mindfulness can be practiced in short micro-practices during the day or can extend to more in depth practices such as meditation or yoga. Mindfulness can also help with a person becoming more self-aware of their thought patterns and emotions. It can also be practiced doing everyday activities such as washing your hands or the dishes, being in the moment when playing with your kids and/or pets, fully engaging in an activity such as showering, watching a movie, or being present outdoors without distractions like your phone or getting lost in your thoughts such as what you need to do next.
Mindfulness is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle. With mindfulness practice, people can become empowered, more self-aware, and reap the benefits it has to offer.
Mindful Staff. “What Is Mindfulness? - Mindful.” Mindful, 8 July 2020, www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/.
Makenzie Pacubas, MSW, LCSW (they/she)
CHE Quality Assurance Associate
Makenzie is a clinical social worker who has worked in the mental health field for over a decade and now works in clinical quality assurance with CHE Behavioral Health Services. Makenzie lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her partner, Justin, and their three pets. Makenzie likes art, singing, exercising, reading, getting outdoors, and trying new restaurants.