What is Mindfulness Really?

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What is mindfulness and why is it important? 

The term mindfulness seems to be one of the newest buzz words, but what is it really? Mindfulness is bringing your mind into the present moment and focusing on your surroundings and current state of mind. Mindfulness is unstructured meditation that can be used at any time in the day to help manage stress, anxiety, emotional regulation, and depression. Many studies have been completed identifying both the physical and metal health benefits of mindfulness. 

How do I become more mindful? 

  1. Most important step is to set aside some time to be with yourself, and away from distractions 
  2. Look around, use all five of your senses to bring your mind to the current moment. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell? What do you taste? Take time to appreciate each sense and how you interact with your surroundings. 
  3. Look inside, take note of your current state of mind. What are you feeling emotionally? What are your thinking about? Are you having ruminating or “sticky” thoughts? Identify and label these feelings and thoughts and let them go, practicing bringing your mind back to being present in the moment with your senses. 
  4. Continually bring your mind and body back to the present as your wander. When I have time to practice mindfulness in a private place, I use gentle music, scented candles or oils, and a tranquil environment to give myself a calming present to be mindful of. 

Practice, practice, practice! 

The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes, and the more beneficial it will be. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a long process, sometimes only 5 to 10 minutes. In the beginning it is hard to reign in your thoughts and focus on the present, but practice will improve your ability to be present. After I practice mindfulness I have a calming effect. My mind is more settled, my worries are less prominent, and stress is reduced. You will notice a more relaxed feeling in your muscles, and reduction is aches and pains due to stress. Everyone is different and everyone finds their own benefits from mindfulness. Throughout pregnancy, this has been a great way for me to feel centred and manage my emotional state. Mindfulness can be a great tool to add to your mental toolbox both during and after pregnancy.

 

Image Source: https://amiquebec.org/mindfulness/

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