Mindfulness is the mental state where one focuses on the present moment instead of the past or the future. If you’re practicing mindfulness, you immerse yourself fully in the moment and feel all the thoughts, sensations, and feelings that course through your body. You don’t try to change or guide any of them; you just notice them as they go through you.
You also notice what’s going on around you. You’re fully present in the moment, experiencing whatever is going on near you. It’s a state of being that requires work and dedication and is always incomplete. No one is fully present all the time; that’s physically and mentally impossible, but it is possible to cultivate long stretches of mindfulness.
People who practice mindfulness are happier and less stressed than their counterparts who don’t. They don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness improves sleep and makes it easier to relax. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to improve relationships.
It also increases creativity and learning ability. Like a gratitude practice, practicing mindfulness regularly will rewire the brain to increase connections in your emotional processing centers. People who practice mindfulness tend to be more content with life. They have higher self-esteem and like themselves more.
That’s quite an effect for one habit! So how do you get started? Because mindfulness is a skill, it takes practice to develop it. You can start by taking a few short breaks during the day to do so. Stop whatever it is your doing and focus on what’s going on around you and how you feel. You can start with as little as thirty seconds!
Do this multiple times a day and gradually increase the time you spend on it. Learn to notice your thoughts and feelings as they flow through your mind and body. You should eventually get to the point where you can spend several minutes being mindful without stopping what you’re doing. Then practice focusing on whatever task you’re working on. Focus on it completely and notice every little thing about it.
You’ll start experiencing benefits right away. Even short periods of mindfulness will help you on your journey, but if you develop a habit of doing this, you will naturally become more mindful as time goes on. Your periods of mindfulness will increase until you’re mindful more often than not. That is of course when you’ll notice the greatest rewards.