Mindfulness is simply the act of keeping your attention on the present moment so that you are observing what is happening. When you are being mindful, or “present”, you are observing your thoughts and feelings without any kind of judgment, and you are awakening yourself to the experience of being in the moment rather than being distracted by outside intrusions or thoughts.

Have you ever had the experience of driving somewhere and then not having much of a recollection of how you got there because you were so absorbed in your thoughts? That is an example of mindlessness, the act of doing something and not experiencing it as you are doing it.

Mindfulness reduces anxiety

Why is mindfulness important? I teach mindfulness skills in my practice because they have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. If you think about anxiety as “worrying about the future” and depression as “ruminating about the past” then you can see why being focused on the present will significantly reduce those issues. Also research has identified these other benefits: reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts to working memory, better focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, and greater relationship satisfaction.

Becoming mindful is a journey, it takes practice and it takes the desire. It won’t happen overnight but the benefits of mindfulness will happen quickly. The first thing that will happen is that you will realize that you can enjoy experiences much more intensely and you will feel more relaxed after a successful mindful experience. If you want to try one out just to see what it can be like, try eating a meal with no conversation or distractions of any kind. Give your full attention to the food in front of you, take the time to slowly savor the flavors, chew with care, smell the different aromas. As you do this, do not pass judgment on the food, don’t think of it as “delicious” or “bland”, just experience it for what it is and feel gratitude that you have it.

If you want to understand mindfulness on a deeper level and learn how to incorporate it into your daily life, contact me for more information about anxiety therapy.