As the summer comes to a close, some of us might be excited to move onto the next season, but some of us might be feeling sad or stressed about the upcoming transition. Changes in seasons can bring about lots of emotions for many different reasons. This is why I wanted to focus on mindfulness for the third and final lesson of the Progress Wellness summer series!
Mindfulness is a wonderful skill to practice because when we are feeling worried, stressed, or anxious (like some of us are when seasons change), being present can be difficult. But it can also be very helpful in those very same moments.
So what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment. It’s being aware of where we are and what we are doing, while observing our own thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, all without reacting to them.
Yet mindfulness can sometimes feel like an abstract idea that’s impossible to attain. But just like any skill set, the more we practice, the better we become. Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression—and there’s research to back that up! The more we practice mindfulness, the better we feel, and the more present we are.
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness. Often people think practicing mindfulness means they need to meditate, sit still, or close their eyes for a period of time. While some do enjoy practicing mindfulness in that way, there are plenty of other ways we can engage in mindfulness too. And the good news is that we can do most of these things for however long we want, whenever we want—even right now!
Below are some surprising ways people practice mindfulness:
Exercise (running, walking, lifting weights, yoga, etc.)
Working on a puzzle
Naming five things you can see, hear, and touch
Deep breathing exercises
Listening to a guided meditation (in person or digitally)
As you can see, mindfulness comes in many different packages. The idea is to find something that allows you to participate in the moment. For those who enjoy using cooking as a mindfulness strategy, they are fully engaged at that moment, focusing on the smells, tastes, and textures of the dish they are preparing. Or deep breathing exercises help people focus on their breath—each moment they take a deep breath in or out, their mind is present and focused on their body.
During your mindfulness practice, you might notice that your mind wanders off and you begin thinking about something else, maybe about your worries or anxieties. When that happens, just notice it and bring your attention back to the moment. It’s all a natural part of practicing the art of mindfulness.
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness, check out my YouTube channel! I cover this topic in more depth and also demonstrate a quick 30-second mindfulness strategy.