Mindfulness is not a waste of your time

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Mindfulness is not a waste of your time

Image via Counseling & Wellness Center of Pittsburgh

Image via Counseling & Wellness Center of Pittsburgh

Image via Counseling & Wellness Center of Pittsburgh

Image via Counseling & Wellness Center of Pittsburgh

Audrey Wheeler, Staff Writer

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    Make sure that your feet are flat on the ground and find a comfortable position on a chair or cushion.Try to be as still as possible. Breathe in for five seconds. Hold for four seconds. Breath out for ten seconds. Repeat as many times as you need to. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing. When you breathe in it may feel slightly warm and when you breathe out it may feel a little cool. Only focus on your breathing, nothing else. If you become distracted, simply bring your attention back to your breath. Focus on your breathing for a little bit longer. Don’t force your breath to breathe a certain way; just have simple, soft breaths that fill the lungs. Now, slowly and calmly bring your attention and focus back to your seat and the atmosphere around you. 

  You may be wondering, “What did I just do?” Welcome to the world of mindfulness, my friends! I know what you’re thinking, “What the heck is mindfulness?” Well, mindfulness is a way to train your brain to focus on the present moment. In other terms, mindfulness is, according to Greater Good at UC Berkley,  “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.” Basically, mindfulness is a way to channel your mind to the present and what is going on in your life at this very moment, right now. Not focusing on the past nor future ; just the present. 

       Mindfulness is perfect for those who need to cleanse their mind and not be so scatterbrained. The practice of mindfulness helps you become fully aware of what is going on around you and what you are doing. Mindfulness is there to help you remain calm throughout your life. It helps you live with a positive mindset, and without being overly reactive or stressed out. Though we as humans already have the capacity in our brains to be present and in the moment, we sometimes forget to use that skill and become easily overwhelmed. Mindfulness isn’t simply breathing in and out while closing your eyes, it helps bring awareness, refocus, and resilience in our lives. 

     Everyone experiences mindfulness in a different way. After practicing mindfulness, you might feel sleepy, alert, relaxed, joyful, and so many more feelings and emotions based on your session. You might not even know what you feel like after mindfulness, and that is totally ok! There are so many amazing techniques and exercises that you can explore that are centered around mindfulness. Five Senses, Body Scan, Acceptance, Guided, Non-Guided, Listening Tools, Texture, Self-Reflection, Compassion, and Anxiety Relief are just a couple of Meditation/Mindfulness for your body, mind, and soul. 

Are you thinking you might want to give mindfulness a shot? If you do, you may want to try guided meditation first because trying to meditate on your own may be a little too advanced for beginners. Thankfully, there are so many great mindfulness apps that you can set timers for during your day (for example, meditate before school, after school, and before you go to sleep). Some of my personal favorite mindfulness apps include “Calm,” “Breethe” (yes, this is actually how it is spelled), “Aura,” and “Headspace.” They are all guided-meditation apps that have specific sessions on how to sleep better, have less anxiety, how to have an overall more healthy and positive outlook on life, you get the idea. 

Speaking from personal experience, I used to think that meditation and mindfulness was really weird and that it was such a waste of time. Boy was I wrong! After practicing meditation on a regular basis, I feel more positive, alert, and my mind is truly in the present moment. Don’t just take my word for how great mindfulness is, try it out for yourself. Mindfulness just might become one of your new habits!

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