Mindfulness: What It Is, What It Isn't, and How You Can Benefit

Mindfulness: What It Is, What It Isn't, and How You Can Benefit

Buzzwords are everywhere we look. It’s easy to see a word on twitter ten times or hear it on TikTok and then start using it without knowing what exactly it means. One of those words is “mindfulness”. Let’s define mindfulness, dispel some myths about it, and highlight how it can help you live a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Mindfulness is the practice of present moment awareness. It's about living in the here and now and paying attention to what's happening around us.

Mindfulness can help us become more aware of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations so that we're better able to manage them. If you would like to start practicing mindfulness, there are a few things that you can do: 1) Make time for it: In order to reap the benefits of mindfulness, you need to make time for it! Dedicate 10-15 minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. If your mind starts wandering, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

  1. Start with simple tasks: At first, it may be difficult to focus on nothing but your breath for an extended period of time. If this is the case, start by focusing on simple tasks such as brushing your teeth or eating a meal mindfully. Pay attention to all of the senses involved in these activities – what do you see/smell/taste/feel?
  2. Be patient: Like anything else worth doing, mindfulness takes practice! Don’t get discouraged if your mind wanders frequently at first – just keep bringing your attention back to the present moment. With time and practice, it will become easier to stay focused.

While mindfulness can be beneficial for everyone, there are still some misconceptions about what it is and how it works. Here are three myths about mindfulness that need to be debunked:

Myth #1: Mindfulness Means Doing Nothing. One common misconception about mindfulness is that it means doing nothing at all – just sitting around and letting your thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky. But this isn't accurate. While part of mindfulness involves observing your thoughts without getting caught up in them, it also includes actively engaging with the present moment. That might mean focusing on your breathing, noticing the sounds around you, or feeling the sensation of your body moving as you walk or run. In other words, mindfulness doesn't mean zoning out; it actually requires you to be more present and engaged than ever before.

Myth #2: Mindfulness Is a Religion. Another myth about mindfulness is that it's somehow connected to religion – specifically Buddhism. However, while Buddhism does incorporate mindfulness into its teachings, the two are not synonymous. Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). And although some people do use meditation as a form of mindfulness practice, meditation is not required for someone to reap the benefits of this approach. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time – even if you only have a few seconds to spare between tasks at work or taking care of your kids at home! All you need to do is bring your attention back to the present moment when your mind starts wandering off into past or future concerns.

Myth #3: You Need To Be Perfectly Still To Be Mindful. This myth likely comes from our association of meditation with stillness. It's true that many people who meditate do so while sitting quietly with their eyes closed; however, this isn't necessary for practicing mindfulness effectively. Some singers close their eyes when they’re trying to reach a high note, some don’t, it’s a personal preference.

When we're mindful, we observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them or trying to change them. We simply allow them to be as they are. This can help us to feel more calm and clear-headed, and less reactive or overwhelmed by our emotions. Mindfulness is thought to have originated from Eastern meditation practices, but it doesn't need to be religious or spiritual. Anyone can benefit from mindfulness – you don't need any special equipment or training. And there's growing evidence that mindfulness can be an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness practice can increase focus and concentration, while also reducing stress levels.