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Mindfulness Matters

Being in the moment can improve your well-being

We’ve all rushed mindlessly through our daily routines, missing the opportunities for mindfulness and self-care. But practicing mindfulness can help you apply present-moment awareness to your regular activities and your surrounding environment, and reduce the stress and frustration of constantly being on.

Mindfulness also means acceptance—paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them. When you practice mindfulness, your thoughts tune into what you’re sensing at the present time rather than rehashing the past or trying to predict or worrying about future outcomes.

Appreciating the world around you can have a positive impact on your body, mind and spirit. Studies show practicing mindfulness can boost the immune system, increase positive emotions, improve memory, sharpen focus, enhance relationships and encourage healthier eating habits. It can also be an excellent way to cope withpost-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

One of the most appealing aspects of practicing mindfulness is that it can be integrated into your daily life. To get started, follow these eight tips:

  1. Focus on the moment. In all of your everyday activities—cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, driving, taking a shower, drinking a cup of coffee—practice moment-to-moment awareness. Resist the temptation to multitask; give your full attention to one task at a time.
  2. Meditate. Watch your breath enter and leave your nose or abdomen. Build from five to 20 minutes to relieve stress.
  3. Listen. Fully listening to family, friends and coworkers helps to build strong relationships and broadens your community networks. It’s good for your body and your spirit.
  4. Sit down to eat. Put your fork on the table between bites. Chew slowly. Savor the look, feel, taste and smell of your food. Enjoy it. This helps you digest it better.
  5. Breathe. Take frequent breaks throughout the day and breathe deeply. Breathing from your diaphragm fosters calmness and sharpens focus.
  6. Enjoy nature. Take a walk on your lunch break, and appreciate nature’s beauty. Use all of your senses. Absorb the sights, smells and sounds surrounding you. Notice sensations.
  7. Be silent and reflect. Don’t cram all of your time full of activities. One day a week, go on a news fast, forgoing TV, newspaper and online news. Let go of your to-do list. Find a quiet place and reflect on your thoughts.
  8. Prepare for sleep. One hour before bedtime, dim the lights and turn off the TV. Stow your cell phone and tablet in another room. Take a warm bath in lavender essential oil. Read something inspirational.


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