What is the Mindfulness Technique?
It consists of the practice of focusing attention and awareness in the present moment. It was popularized in the west by Jon Kabat-Zinn and has recently gained attention in the psychological community. However, this isn’t a new concept. It’s been used for thousands of years with roots in Buddhist meditation.
Many from the health care community, those in large corporations and even the military have embraced the practice for a variety of benefits including:
Sharpening the Mind- In fact, the U.S Marine Corp is in the process of investigating the effect of mindfulness meditation to improve troops’ performance and their ability to handle—and recover from—stress.
Lowering Stress- The journal of Health Psychology published research that shows mindfulness not only helps you feel less stressed, but is linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Improving Mood and Better Sleep- A study at the University of Utah sited that mindfulness can help with controlling emotions and moods as well as help with having a more restful sleep at night.
Practicing Mindfulness with the Five Senses
One basic way of introducing the mindfulness technique into your daily life is to simply take a few minutes to focus on the five senses. As you sit, take in everything by going through your five senses without attaching judgment to what you observe and experience.
1. Hearing: Take in all of the sounds that you hear around you. Do you hear your breath, birds, traffic, a conversation, the TV, a fan blowing or even your own heart beat?
2. Touch: What do you feel? Do you feel the softness or hardness of your seat, your shirt or sweater against your skin, warmth or coolness, or perhaps a breeze?
3. Sight: What’s in your field of vision? What’s the setting? Are you outside and see clouds, trees, birds and leaves? Are you in an office and see books, desks, computers and carpet?
4. Smell: What scents are in the air? Do you smell the fragrance of perfume or cologne, food cooking, or even freshly cut grass?
5. Taste: What do you taste? Did you recently have coffee, tea, lunch or a piece of candy or gum?
Practicing mindfulness allows you to truly live in the present moment, free from depression and without anxiety about the future. Right now, you are exactly where you need to be, whole and complete.