Here’s a challenge: Can you sustain your attention in the present moment without judgment?
Meaning, can you be engaged in conversation without your mind wandering? Can you sit in traffic without stressing about being late?
We’re talking about mindfulness. In a world of chirping cell phones and overstuffed email inboxes, the concept of just being seems next to impossible.
But that’s the idea behind mindfulness: Living in the moment. This isn’t some sort of New Age hocus-pocus either. A growing body of scientific study is showing that mindfulness can help with everything from hypertension to anxiety. In fact, Harvard researchers recently found that patients who practice mindfulness meditation are less likely to end up in the doctor’s office or ER.
It doesn’t have to be a big production either. Everyday mindfulness is what’s taking hold. Just take 10-minutes out of your workday. Find a quiet place, with a comfortable chair (or even just sit or lay on the floor) and clear your mind. Focus on breathing (in and out, in and out) Do a body scan: Start at your feet and work upward, noticing how your body feels (Tired feet? Stress building in your chest?). When your mind starts to wander, bring your focus back to your breathing.
If you start incorporating this into your daily schedule, you may just find you’re living a less stressful life.
Read: Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
A good introduction by one of the leading experts on mindfulness who runs the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Download: Headspace, available on in the Apple Store and Google Play
One of the most popular health apps, Headspace offers short exercises that allow you to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine.
Visit: If you’re looking to get more serious, Southwest Florida has organizations that host classes, like the ones below.