Mindfulness practices are any of many different activities that bring together both awareness and acceptance.
Your therapist may recommend or teach you mindfulness practices.
One part of the mindfulness practice is awareness.
Awareness is the ability to closely pay attention to your body sensations at this moment.
These body sensations often include your breathing and/or also might include tasting, seeing, listening, the feel of the air in the room, or how your feet feel planted on the floor.
What’s more, awareness always focuses on the present—not the past or the future.
Besides awareness, the other part of mindfulness is acceptance. Acceptance is the ability to observe your thoughts and feelings without criticizing, judging, reacting to them, being distracted by them, or feeling overwhelmed.
During mindfulness practice, your mind may drift to thoughts, worries, memories, or your to–do list. When this happens, you simply accept it and bring your awareness back to the mindfulness activity.
Types of Mindfulness Practices
You can become aware and accepting during many types of mindfulness practices. For example, Empowered and Authentic Living counselors may introduce you to:
- Mindfulness meditation, including loving–kindness meditation
- Mindful breathing or eating
- Mindful seeing or listening
- Art therapy, coloring, doodling, crafting
- Body scan meditation
- Mindful walking or movement
- Sensory exercises
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Most of the research around mindfulness has focused on mindfulness meditation. According to Mayo Clinic and in a scientific research review by the American Psychological Association, the reported benefits of mindfulness meditation include:
- Improved focus, insight, and attention
- Better reactions to stress and conflict
- Lifting a person’s mood and decreasing the number of depression symptoms
- Managing pain
- Improving anxiety and decreasing obsessive worry or thoughts
- Better sleep
- Enhancing diabetes control
- Lowering high blood pressure
- Better immune function