Mindfulness has been somewhat of a trend in the recent years, and there’s a good reason for that! Research has shown that practicing mindfulness on a regular basis can improve mood, concentration, and relationship satisfaction, as well as reducing stress and pain levels. Brain imaging shows that a regular mindfulness practice can decrease the size of the part of the brain that causes the fight/flight/freeze survival response, which tends to be overactive in trauma survivors. Integrating the practice of mindfulness into your daily routine is one of the simplest ways to find relief from emotional distress.
So what is mindfulness, anyway? At its core, mindfulness is about non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. We can be mindful about all sorts of things: our breath, our bodily sensations, the sights and sounds around us. When many people picture mindfulness, they see an image of someone sitting in contemplative meditation– while that is certainly one way to do it, mindfulness can also be active! We can mindfully eat, walk, crochet, or just about anything else you can think of. Although it is rooted in Buddhist meditation practices, mindfulness as a skill is separate from any religious or spiritual traditions, and can easily be implemented as part of a daily self-care routine.
Here are 8 simple ways to get started on a mindfulness practice today.