The Importance of Mindfulness

In the day-to-day hustle, it can be difficult to relax. Stressors can cause a feeling of disconnectedness from what truly makes us happy.

Mindfulness is an individualized practice that can help reconnect us with what is important and greatly improve our health and wellness. Mindfulness is generally described as the ability to be fully present and aware. The University of California, Berkeley website describes mindfulness as the ability to maintain a moment-by-moment awareness through a self-nurturing lens. We have awareness of our:

  • Thoughts
  • Feelings
  • Bodily sensations
  • Surrounding environment

Mindfulness is an intentional connection with the present that changes how we relate to ourselves, others and the world. Studies show a regular mindfulness practice helps to:

  • Decrease perceived stress and depression
  • Reduce overeating
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve focus and memory
  • Improve emotional regulation
  • Increase empathy
  • Improve learning and decision-making
  • Increase compassion and altruism

There is no one right way to practice mindfulness. The following are a few suggestions to get you started on your mindfulness journey:

  • Breathwork (also known as breathing exercises): Try the Boxed Breathing Technique. Imagine a square box, begin to breathe in counting to four (one side of the box), hold for four counts (another side of the box), breathe out for four counts (third side of the box) and hold for four (last side of box). Controlled breathing like this can improve awareness while simultaneously calming the nervous system.
  • Mindful eating: Take time to breathe, chew food slowly and thoroughly, and observe the changes in texture and flavor. This practice will not only help prevent overeating; it may make the nutrients you are eating more available to the body.
  • Movement: In any form—like walking, weightlifting or yoga— movement can help to reduce feelings of stress and depression, boost the immune system and improve overall health.
  • Awareness: Being aware of what is happening around you may help improve your day; through your acts of kindness, it may improve other people’s days as well.  
  • Quiet time: This time can be used to reflect, journal, read or just sit quietly. This gives the body and mind time to relax, thereby improving mental and physical health.

Mindfulness is a continuous practice that requires a purposeful awareness and, when practiced regularly, could completely change your world.

Explore Mindfulness

Join the Tevis Center for Wellness for a Mindfulness Workshop on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon. The workshop will help you address stress by exploring ways to create a more balanced life through prompted journaling, guided meditation, a mindful eating activity and gentle yoga. The cost is $20, and registration is required. Please call 410-871-7000 to register or for more information.

Registered nurse Kris Wood is the R.N. coordinator in the Tevis Center for Wellness.

 

 

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