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Impact of Mindfulness

Written by Grace Huang

You might have heard of mindfulness, especially mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a practice that focuses on being aware of what you are feeling in the moment without judgment. As Psychology Today describes it, mindfulness involves two ingredients: awareness of one’s inner thoughts and acceptance.

The goal of practicing mindfulness is to help you become more in tune with yourself in the present moment. It can become easy to become stressed or worried, especially with homework, projects, upcoming tests, extracurricular activities, etc. Mindfulness practices can help you become aware of and acknowledge these thoughts, and help you relax and find some peace.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Research has shown that mindfulness practices can help with the following:

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Pain

  • Insomnia

  • Aspects of mood, thinking, and memory

In fact, a study observing the impact of an eight-week mindfulness intervention on the ability to pay attention found improvements in sustained attention, even in a follow-up visit six months later. Scientists found improvements in:

  • The efficiency of brain pathways which process new information from the senses, allowing participants to more accurately understand information

  • The ability of the brain to direct attention, allowing participants to focus on tasks and ignore distractions

How to Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of forms. It’s important to note that a form that works for someone else may not work for you, so you may want to experiment with a couple of methods. Here are some suggested ways you can practice mindfulness:

  • Paying attention. Take about 30 seconds wherever you are to pause and focus on each of your senses to tune into your environment. What are you seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling?

  • Breathe. Take a couple deep breaths in and out. During those deep breaths, try to focus on your breathing and how it feels.

  • Walking. Focus on the environment around you. Feel the breeze on your skin, or listen to the birds chirping.

  • Meditation. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Breathe in and out, focusing on your breathing. If you find that thoughts appear, simply acknowledge them without judging them, and gently return to your breathing.

You may also find guided mindfulness exercises elsewhere on the Internet, such as on YouTube, if you prefer a more structured exercise or are unsure of how to begin.

Over time and with practice, you may find that practicing mindfulness becomes easier and more natural. Remember to be lenient with yourself, as all things take time. Good luck with your mindfulness practice!


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