By Ariel Kruemcke, LPC
Benefits to Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of being aware and present in the moment without judgement. I like to think of it as choosing to focus. It is often used in therapy for the many benefits it gives. Something I always mention to clients who are first learning about mindfulness, is even with 5 minutes each day you can start to see the effect it has. Our lives can get pretty busy, but no matter how much we have on our plate we can typically find 5 minutes a day to work on ourselves. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a break from the constant stress even just for that small amount of time. People choose mindfulness because it is not time intensive and it is a cost effective way to start relieving that anxiety and stress.
Another reason why people choose mindfulness is the increase of calm and relaxation that people feel during and afterward. The effects are felt pretty quickly for most after starting a mindfulness activity. People who practice mindfulness regularly also experience increased levels of energy, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. When we are anxious or stressed, we feel it physically. Our hearts may start to race and our muscles start to tense. Mindfulness can help you to be aware of this and help you to let go and slow down physically.
Mindfulness is also helpful if you have a hard time with letting go. This is something that a lot of us struggle with. This is where the awareness piece of mindfulness comes into play. With gaining awareness into ourselves and the world around us we can start to break the cycle that we often find ourselves stuck in.
I often get the comment, “I can’t focus”, or “it’s too noisy to think”. Like with any change you are making in your life it takes practice. The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes even if there are outside distractions. Even being able to notice distractions or noticing the place where our minds wander to during that time is considered mindfulness. I can remember when I first started taking yoga classes and the instructors would use phrases pertaining to mindfulness and I thought it sounded silly and I would never be able to understand what they meant. The more I tried though, the more I truly felt it and was able to see the benefits of using it in my life. There is no wrong way of practicing mindfulness as long as you are trying and that is what is so great about it!