MindfulnessThroughout counseling circles, the practice of “mindfulness” is getting a lot of recognition. For many of us, mindfulness may be a new term. I wanted to take some time to explain mindfulness and the benefits that it is said to promote.

Mindfulness is purposefully slowing your mind down to focus on what you are experiencing in that particular moment. So often in our modern culture, we are trained to multitask. We aren’t just walking from one building to another, cooking dinner, or even brushing our teeth- we are thinking about what’s next. In those moments we are making lists, processing emotions, and thoughts, all while accepting new information. Busyness runs throughout our culture. Anxiety is on the rise. Mindfulness- in contrast- is a tool counselors have been using to try and slow down the day. In this process, stimuli from the outside are processed piece-by-piece and filtered through a screen of pausing and relaxing.

Yoga and Meditation are often forms of Mindfulness that are taught through counseling to be intentional in helping bring Mindfulness about. Typically these exercises begin with focusing on breathing and slowly allowing yourself to receive the benefits of self-control, patience, reasoning, lessened anxiety, improved concentration, and increased flexibility and attention.

So take some time in your day to stop, notice your breathing and your surroundings.  Become attentive to the present moment and exhale the tension and inhale a full complete breath. Practice a mindful moment each day and you might find that it helps you slow down and experience life more fully.  You might also find that you enjoy your co-workers, employees, spouse and even kids a little more when you are more mindful of the moments. Living a slower and purposeful life is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself and the ones you love.