Have you ever heard the word “mindful” or “mindfulness” and not really known what it meant? Being mindful means to be fully present with yourself, being aware of what is happening around you, and not having a strong reaction to your surroundings such as feeling overwhelmed. However, the definition of being mindful changes from person to person and is not set in stone. For example, one person’s definition of mindfulness may include meditation and reflecting on the day’s events. This may look like sitting, standing, or lying down and acknowledging each thought that pops into your head before gently pushing it away. Another person’s definition may include being more aware of the people around us and their needs. This definition may look like remembering that a friend or family member needs a ramp for accessibility or doesn’t eat tomatoes, and making those changes.
Being a more mindful person does have some benefits, including:
- Providing judgement-free space during meditation or reflection
- Gaining insight and awareness of ourselves and others
- Increasing our attention to ours and others’ well-being
- Reducing stress by increasing positive emotions and dealing with negative emotions in a judgement-free space
- Increasing our focus and tune out distractions
Including mindfulness in your daily routine doesn’t need to look like hour-long meditation sessions. Being mindful can occur while washing dishes, as you’re trying to fall asleep, or even while you’re having a shower or brushing your teeth. In fact, you’re probably already practicing mindfulness and not even realizing it!
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