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The Importance of Mindfulness

If you want to be successful in life and conquer any personal challenges, understanding what mindfulness is and how it can positively affect your life, is worth looking into. When our lives get too busy, we easily forget what is going on inside of us. The way we feel about ourselves reflects itself in how we talk to ourselves as well as how we deal with others. This means we have to be mindful towards ourselves first before we can be mindful towards others.


What is Mindfulness?

According to Professor Mark Williams, mindfulness is defined as “reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience” which leads to “waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment.” By doing so, you fully embrace everything. However, this has to be done without judgement. When you think about it, being mindful is all about being tactful, especially when interacting with others. This also means not letting one's emotions or negative thoughts take over and instead mindfulness urges us to "take a pause", to think before speaking, listen before answering and understand before assuming.


Try to grasp those thoughts and emotions you are having and, at the same time, try to take in your surroundings on a much deeper level. By doing this, you choose your words more wisely and become more receptive towards learning what a situation could teach you. Listening to your inner voice more carefully and recognizing if it's actually helping you or pulling you down is also a good way to practice mindfulness. Your inner voice should be motivating you and not draining you.


Examples

1) Breathing techniques: being aware of how you breathe in and out is important because it will make you realize how your body, especially your lungs, your heart and your stomach changes every time you inhale and exhale. Here is my favorite breathing exercise that I learned from Mrs. Hoehnen, one of my teachers in the 11th grade): breathe in deeply, breathe out deeply and then smile.

2) Focusing on what you are eating: eating consciously, tasting the food's flavor and enjoying it.

3) While taking a walk: paying attention to how you feel and taking in the environment you are in, no matter if it's crowded or if you are walking alone through the forest.



Benefits of Being Mindful

There are many benefits of being mindful. It can benefit your overall well-being and health because it can reduce stress and anxiety. The good thing about mindfulness is that it doesn't take much of one's time. You can schedule moments of mindfulness in your everyday life to your own convenience. Maybe while taking a bath or when taking a walk or just by using certain breathing exercises. Meditation, as a combination of breathing exercises and position of the body, is one way to practice mindfulness. Another therapeutic option is to write down your thoughts as a way to take a pause and reflect on the words and its impact. This is how your thoughts can become more clearer and you can increase your productivity for the rest of your day.


Taking the effort to let yourself become fully aware of your emotions, your body and your surroundings is the main act of mindfulness. Your self-awareness is linked to your awareness of others and by taking advantage of the benefits of mindfulness, you will be able to change your life in a positive manner so that you can be successful in everything you set your mind to.

Source: Breathe Mindfulness Journal from 8/25/2023

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