Dawn LaCarte on The Basics of Mindfulness Practice

What is mindfulness and how can it help you?

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Dawn LaCarte Mindfulness
Dawn LaCarte Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique that allows a person to be fully present and aware of their thoughts and actions. While it teaches people to understand and recognize their thoughts, it also teaches individuals not to overreact or become overwhelmed by the things that go through their minds. Mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress or anxiety levels and develop an improved outlook. What are some ways that you can implement mindfulness in your daily life, and what should you know before doing so?

One thing that may be a bit off-putting about mindfulness meditation is the common perception of meditation. Some people may hear the word meditation and immediately think that it entails sitting on the ground with your legs crossed, eyes closed, and making “om” sounds while clearing your mind of any thoughts. However, mindfulness meditation is focused on letting your thoughts happen and being able to acknowledge them, then move on without judgment. The point is to eventually be able to bring your mind back to the present even when your thoughts wander and focus on stressful things. 

The Basics

You do not need a complete quiet space or dedicated chunk of time to practice mindfulness, but these things may be helpful when just starting out. It is possible to practice mindfulness throughout your day but to begin, try sitting and getting comfortable in a relaxing space. Also, set aside some time to start your mindfulness practice and not have to spend time worrying about other factors. It doesn’t have to be a long time, but setting aside 5 to 10 minutes to start is an excellent way to being able to perfect mindfulness. 

The Key

The most important part of mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present. Do not try to quiet your mind, just hone in on what is happening at the moment. Take notice of your body and breathing and try to focus on these things. Your mind is going to wander, especially when you are just beginning to start to practice mindfulness. Whether it be a sound or just a thought that enters your mind, it is important to acknowledge it without spending too much time focusing on it. Take note of those thoughts but then let them pass and return your focus to your body and breathing.

Learning to implement these mindfulness techniques in your daily life can help reduce thoughts that cause worry or stress. 

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