What is it?
According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness is:
"...a moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. In this sense, mindfulness is a state and not a trait. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as mediation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them."
Practicing mindfulness regularly can:
- Improve focus and attention
- Increase the quality of sleep
- Increase cognitive flexibility
- Strengthen working memory
- Reduce emotional reactivity
- Reduce anxiety, worry, and rumination
How does it work?
According to apa.org, psychological scientists have found that mindfulness influences two different stress pathways in the brain, changing brain structures and activity in regions associated with attention and emotion regulation. Scientists are also beginning to understand which elements of mindfulness are responsible for its beneficial effects.
People will often equate mindfulness with mediation, but mediation is in fact only one way to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state that can be brought on through regular practice. It involves awareness and impartiality about what we gain from this awareness. We can practice mindfulness in many ways, including
- Listening to music
- Mindful movement exercises such as yoga and stretching, walking, or any form of exercise where paying attention to awareness is practiced
- Practicing gratitude
- Breathing exercises
- Mindful eating
- Spending time in the present
Apps that help
- Smiling Mind: Practice mindfulness and learn to pay attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and without judgment.
- Headspace: Help improve your focus, exercise mindful awareness, relieve anxiety and reduce stress.
- Ten Percent Happier: Discover guided meditation, lower stress levels, and quiet your mind.