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What Is Mindfulness?

What Is Mindfulness?

You’ve heard the buzz about “mindfulness”… but you might not be sure what it is or how to apply it to your life. Turns out, it’s as simple as taking a few moments to focus on yourself.

Being mindful means paying close attention to what’s happening in the moment. Put simply, mindfulness is about being present.

And it means being aware of what's happening around you.

When you're being mindful, the key is not to label or judge what's happening. Your feelings aren't good or bad. They just are.

In that way, mindfulness is about observing. You notice your life with a little distance, instead of reacting emotionally.

The opposite of mindfulness is being on autopilot. That's when you do things without any thought or consideration.

How Do You Know You're Doing It Right?

You can focus on the present anytime, anywhere: in your car, standing in a line, or at work.

Here's how to be mindful when you have a few minutes to yourself and don't need to concentrate on a more pressing task:

First, pause and focus on your body: Notice what you see and hear. Also, check what you smell, taste, and feel. Don't label these sensations as good or bad. Just let them go.

Then narrow your focus: What do you feel in your body? Notice subtle sensations like an itch or tingling. Give each part of your body a moment of your full attention. Start with your head and move to your toes. Kind of like the childhood song but break it up even further if you can, truly focusing on smaller and smaller areas.

Next, be more intent on your breath: Where in your body do you feel it most? Rest your attention there.

Ask yourself, “How am I in this moment?”: Acknowledge your thoughts and emotions. Spend a few moments with them, being with things as they are. Allow your feelings to be present without judgment.

When your mind wanders (and it will): simply return to your breath. There's no need to beat yourself up for losing focus. Your sub-conscious mind will bring you back to where you need to be.

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