As you read these words your mind is probably already thinking about something else. Possibly what you will eat later, what you still need to finish from your to do list, etc. This is normal – just bring your attention back to the screen. This is exactly what our minds do all day long. They analyze, label, criticize, plan, and just produce thoughts all day. Feeling stressed yet? This constant mind chatter increases the release of stress hormones in our bodies, creates lack of concentration, lack of intimacy in relationships, and a lack of connection to life. Oh and whatever you do don’t tell your mind not to think about something. Just don’t think about a pink elephant. Don’t do it.

There are numerous techniques to reduce stress and help you live a more conscious and meaningful life. The practice of mindfulness is one of them. Mindfulness is a state of being fully present in the moment. It’s about being aware of the now. Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways. The most formal type of practice is mindfulness meditation. As opposed to what some may say meditation is not about sitting and trying to clear your mind. Mindfulness meditation is about focusing on something, for instance your breath, and bringing your focus back to it every time your mind wanders. There are other types of mindfulness practices such as mindful eating. Mindful eating is about eating one chip at a time and really savoring it. It’s about putting all of your attention on what your food tastes like, noticing your breathing, and how your body feels while and after you eat it.

The awesome benefits to practicing mindfulness are endless. As mentioned earlier it reduces stress, it helps with concentration, decreases anxiety and depression, helps you sleep better, reduces irritability, and benefits your overall functioning. So bring your awareness back to the screen and take a deep breath in and slowly let it out. If you are ready to start living a more mindful life I and others at Focus Forward Counseling and Consulting will be happy to assist you in integrating these and other mindfulness practices into your life.