Mindfulness is a meditative exercise where you pay attention and are present without being judgmental of yourself.
What this means is that your mind and body are brought to the present with a clear purpose without worrying and judging your actions.
Most of us live on autopilot, doing things and following routines we are used to. We barely stop to notice and live in the moment since our minds are focused either on what’s to come or what’s past.
Mindfulness helps you become aware of yourself, your thoughts, and your surroundings as independent entities.
Through the technique, you are able to take a break from the usual, hit the pause button, and free your mind from distressing thoughts. As a result, you can improve your self-confidence, decision-making process, relaxation, and general wellbeing.
Mindfulness and Meditation
A lot of people confuse and use the two interchangeably, but they’re not synonymous.
Mindfulness is a state of living rather than a casual part of meditation. The way it works is that whatever occupies your mind doesn’t stop you from stepping back, taking a break in the present, and finding a way to figure things out in a healthy way.
You want to be able to view things in a positive light and avoid being reactive.
This doesn’t mean you won’t get pissed off because you are mindful. You will be angry, sad, and any other human emotion, but your response is measured and proactive rather than reactive.
Meditation, on the other hand, is a different and broader subject. You use meditation techniques to practice mindfulness.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness comes with a lot of good, either directly or indirectly.
As a non-judgmental mental exercise, regular mindfulness has been associated with increased
- Stress, anxiety, and depression management
- Focus, empathy, and patience
- Sleep quality
One research on mindfulness found that it has significant effects on the immune system. Making mindfulness part of your routine will reward you with many of these benefits.
How to Practice Mindfulness
There are countless mindfulness techniques that are rooted in different traditions, cultures, and research.
However, therapy works based on the principles of clarity and calmness. You can try the following techniques to get started.
- Get in Touch with Your Surrounding
The first step to practicing mindfulness is to get in touch with your surroundings.
Feel your surroundings, whether it is the warm sand in the Maldives, your sofa, or in traffic.
Try paying attention to what is present, interact with nature, and appreciate it.
- Stay Calm and Breathe
Slow, deep breaths will give you the momentum you need. Take deep breaths while observing your body and relax tense muscles.
Remember, your breathing is important, and managing it will ease the thoughts swarming your mind.
If you find it hard to stay calm, you can induce it using cannabis products. A daily dose of 15-20 mg of cannabis either through edibles, a joint, or tinctures can easily get you in a meditative mood. Check out Veriheal for more about cannabis and mindfulness.
Once you manage your breathing, it’ll be easier to manage your thought processes.
- Deal with Your Thoughts
Now, it’s time to work on your senses.
What do you feel, smell and hear?
You have to focus on what your body is saying. Whether you choose to follow or ignore it, leave that for later.
Once you identify these thoughts, whether negative or positive, recognize that they are just thoughts. Not commands.
Keep in mind that by learning about your thoughts and senses, you condition your body and mind to control them.
- Accept What’s Happening
Whenever we face negative thoughts, the first response is to avoid them. This is not a healthy way of dealing with such thoughts.
Mindfulness requires that you intentionally recognize such thoughts, accept them, investigate how they make you feel, and choose not to identify with them.
- Be Non-judgmental
Knowing your thoughts are negative means it’s time to be unbiased and non-judgmental towards them.
The moment you judge yourself, you take away the chance to explore unbiased solutions.
Remember, having a positive mindset doesn’t mean disregarding reality. It just means shading off the negativity and being more practical.
Starting mindfulness can be intimidating, especially if you are struggling mentally.
However, you can take the first step by practicing even a few minutes per day. The few minutes at work break or before bed can be life-changing because the benefits are far greater than the effort used.