What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation, or thoughtfulness, that helps you to focus your attention and be present in the moment. Mindfulness also allows you to better accept and understand your emotions without being overwhelmed by them.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Improves physical health
Improves mental health
Decreases stress and helps to improve mood
Improves life satisfaction
Allows for control of emotions, like anger or sadness
How can I or my child practice mindfulness everyday:
Mindfulness meditation: Sit in a quiet place and focus on your natural breathing. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgement or worry. Some people find it helpful to repeat a calming word in your head.
Release of senses or emotions: Notice body sensations, like an itch or pain, or emotions, like frustration or joy, and allow these sensations or emotions to pass without judgement. Accept these sensations or emotions and let them leave your mind. Some people find it helpful to close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Wondering thoughts: When you notice that your mind has wandered from your current activity, guide your attention back to the current task.
How-to: let’s practice mindfulness meditation!
Sit cross-legged on the floor, on a chair, or on a couch.
Focus on one part of your breathing, such as your belly rising or air flowing out of your mouth.
Once you feel calm and centered begin to notice thoughts, emotions, sounds, and sensations.
Embrace each thought, emotion, sound, or sensation without “good or bad” judgment. If your mind wonders, just focus on your breathing again. When you’re ready, return your awareness to any thought, emotion, sound, or sensation that may be present.
Need some more help or guidance to start practicing mindfulness? Check out the Mindfulness App, available on Google Play and the App Store!
It may take some time to get use to mindfulness, but the more you practice the better you will be at focusing your attention! Written by Grace Pelak
MPH Candidate 2021 | Nutrition Concentration
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina