Mindfulness is a broad term that encompasses observing thoughts, sensations in the body, and emotions in an impartial and neutral way.
- Open-hearted acceptance of the present moment
- Paying attention or observing with a non-judgmental stance, curiosity, and acceptance
Noticing and awareness are the keys to changing your thought patterns. Mindfulness helps retrain your brain to get off auto-pilot and reverse stress responses.
Mindfulness can reduce rumination and negative thoughts, as well as anxiety about the future. As a result, practicing mindfulness can promote patience, kindness, acceptance, and hospitality toward oneself and others.
Keys to remember about mindfulness
- Mindful breathing and guided mediation can lead to greater relaxation.
- Through mental rehearsal or visualization techniques, you can take your mind off of pain, anxiety, or a stressful situation you may be facing.
- Mindfulness is a skill that requires time and practice to learn.
- There are many mindfulness resources available online, like calm.com or mindful.org.
- When you awaken, imagine deep comfort and peace surrounding you. If you are able, bring to mind gratitude for the new day – your home, family and friends, work, school, health or movement toward health, security, etc.
Ideas for practicing mindfulness
- Throughout the day, take mini-stretch and walking breaks. Move your body at whatever level you are capable. Physical exercise is helpful in alleviating grief-related stress. It will probably help you sleep better, too.
- Take a technology break. Spend time each day away from your phone, computer, or tablet.
- Take a media break. Spend time each day away from the radio, TV, Internet, or newspaper.
- Tackle difficult situations during the day when you are feeling strongest. Think about the time of day when you are at your best. Remember to HALT when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Also, when you are exhausted, stressed or emotionally raw, you are more vulnerable to stress-related responses.
- Place a post-it note on your mirror, refrigerator, computer or car that reads, “Breathe!”
- An easy breath exercise is: inhale for 7, hold for 5, and exhale for 9.
- Notice the beauty of nature and her cycles. Take a slow walk. Listen, smell, and see. Being in nature can bring peace, comfort, and expand your perspective.
- When you go to bed at night, offer gratitude for three things that occurred during the day.