How does it work and what are the benefits?
It’s easy to dwell on painful memories, old problems, worries and fears about the future, especially during periods of depression or anxiety. Without an anchor to the present, minds can get overwhelmed by stress.
Mindfulness is that anchor. By focusing on the present moment, usually by turning your attention to your breath, body and senses, you can learn to let these stressful thoughts and feelings come and go without getting caught up in judging or controlling them. This is also referred to as mindfulness meditation.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness:
With its ability to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol, mindfulness can help conserve mental energy, as well as consolidate new learnings into long-term memories.
Getting started with mindfulness
To start having mindful moments, identify an everyday activity where your thoughts tend to wander into painful memories, ruminating on problems or worrying about the future. It could be brushing your teeth, eating lunch, walking, taking the train — any part of your day.
Next time that happens, try this mindfulness starter:
Insight Timer 4.8/5
The Insight Timer app offers the largest free library of guided meditations on earth and a great tool – a meditation Timer, for free. Get started with a seven day course to learn meditation, browse the various meditation and music tracks, get help with getting a better night’s sleep and track your progress with charts and milestones.
There are a myriad of options out there, so try out a couple to see if they work for you.