This is an excerpt from Stress Management With HKPropel Access by Pardess Mitchell.
Mindfulness is a way of looking at the world with all your senses (see figure 10.1). It can be practiced formally or informally and can be adopted to be a way of life. To live a mindful life, participate in your everyday activities with the awareness of doing so, paying attention to your senses as you engage in these activities. There are many benefits to being more mindful in life: People who engage in mindful behavior have enhanced attention and executive control (Yakobi, Smilek, and Danckert, 2021). Mindfulness allows you to engage fully in life, free from distraction and judgment (Witkiew-itz, Roos, Colgan, and Bowen, 2017). It helps reduce stress by focusing on the present which decreases negative or unpleasant thoughts. Lastly, it can help you better manage your emotions by giving yourself time to experience the present moment. This may also lead to a reduced stress reactivity when encountering stress.
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time. Once you begin to practice these behaviors, you may find it becomes habitual and you no longer need to actively engage in mindfulness exercises. Here are some ways to practice mindful-ness in your daily life (Smalley and Winston, 2022):
- Walking to a destination. The next time you are walking from one place to another, pay attention to your steps. Notice how your feet feel in your shoes as they hit the ground. Listen to the sounds around you. Pay attention to the breeze hitting your clothes, your hair, and your skin. Notice the temperature. Are you feeling hot? Cold? Are there any smells around you? How would you describe them?
- During a conversation. When you speak with another person, pay close attention to what they are saying. What do you think they are feeling? What does their body language tell you? Do not add to the conversation, just listen and ask questions.
- Being quiet. Take a few minutes each day and practice being quiet and still. Pay attention to your body and how you feel in the moment. Use your senses to identify how you feel.
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