If you woke up this morning and immediately began listing in your mind the things you already won’t have time to complete, you’re not practicing mindfulness.
If you gulped down your morning coffee, ate lunch at your desk and rushed through dinner, you were not practicing mindfulness.
If you are still brooding because a coworker got the promotion you think you should have gotten and that’s decreased your motivation at work, you aren’t practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment - and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness.
Being mindful can enrich your appreciation of the pleasures of life and give you a greater capacity to deal with adverse events, according to the special health report “Positive Psychology: Harnessing the Power of Happiness, Personal Strength and Mindfulness,” by Harvard Health Publications.
Initially, it may seem a stretch to understand how focusing on the “here and now” can help you let go of regrets about the past and worries about the future.
Zeroing in on the present moment can also lessen unnecessary concerns about success and increase satisfaction with the tiny moments that lead to success. Mindfulness can help you form deeper connections with others.
The complexity of mental health issues has spurred psychotherapists to combine mindfulness practices with other strategies, especially cognitive behavioral therapy.
The results many therapists are witnessing is that mindfulness techniques can be helpful in treating a variety of disorders, including:
Some therapists believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences, including painful emotions, rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.
To get a feel for what mindfulness meditation is like, you can try these from Harvard Health:
Harvard Health Publications, HelpGuide, “Benefits of Mindfulness: Practices for Improving Emotional and Physical Well-Being,” 2016
Siegel, Ronald D., “Positive Psychology: Harnessing the Power of Happiness, Personal Strength and Mindfulness,” Harvard Health Publications, 2016.