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Cultivating Mindfulness ~ Staying in the Present

By Veronica Vidal

Why Focus on Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties, treat depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mindfulness improves overall well-being!

Here are 6 simple steps to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

1)    FIND A PLACE that feels calm and quiet to you
2)    SET A TIME LIMIT. Use an alarm or your smartphone to set between 2 and 10 minutes. (beginners do just 2 minutes)
3)    REMAIN STILL. Commit to a comfortable and stable position during your meditation.
4)    FEEL YOUR BREATH. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out your nose.
5)    NOTICE WHEN YOUR MIND IS WANDERING. When you notice your mind is wandering, simply return your attention to the breath.
6)    BE KIND. Don’t judge yourself nor obsess over the content of the thoughts. Just keep coming back to observing the sensation of your breath.

Note:  In addition to formal meditation, you can also cultivate mindfulness informally by focusing your attention on your moment-to-moment sensations during everyday activities. This is done by single-tasking—doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. As you floss your teeth, pet the dog, or eat an apple, slow down the process and be fully present as it unfolds and involves all of your senses.