All month long we’ve been talking about ways to kick anxiety to the curb. We’ve talked about getting more exercise and less screen time as well as joining a group or taking a class. We’ve offered some strategies to get unstuck from overthinking, too. Today, we’re going to talk about mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to be present in your life at this very moment. It means you aren’t stressing about tomorrow and you aren’t worrying about yesterday. Mindfulness means you are experiencing the thing you are experiencing.

Being mindful does not mean you don’t experience negative things, it just means while you are experiencing them, you are indeed experiencing them.

Mindfulness means being aware of what is happening at the moment.

For example, if you just learned that your dog has cancer you would be heartbroken. You would experience sadness. That’s okay, don’t put pressure on yourself to force negative thoughts and feelings away. Experience the moment and then move on.

The goal of mindfulness is to not get weighed down worrying about the stuff that isn’t happening at the moment. It frees your mind up to enjoy the experiences you are currently having.

Bing mindful can have a dramatic impact on our health and well being. It can reduce stress and anxiety, help us sleep better and even lose weight. It’s something we do now, but usually not consistantly. If you’ve ever gotten wrapped up in a movie, or song you’ve experienced mindfulness. You’re consumed by the music and can’t think of anything else until the song is over. It can be easy to achieve with many forms of art – books, movies, music – are all things that help us to escape our day to day worries.

With that in mind, here are some basics to mindfulness. There are tons of books on the subject and I encourage you to explore them.

Time – Set aside a few minutes each day to practive mindfulness. The more you practice the easier it will be and you’ll find yourself simply living that way, but for now you’re going to need to actively try to reach that state. It takes some time so at the begining or end of the day take a few minutes to practice.

Let it Be – Simply let the moment happen. If you are feeling stressed while you practice mindfulness, that’s okay. Acknowlege your stress and let it go if possible. If not, accept that you are in a state of stress and that is simply how it is at that moment. The goal is not to achieve calmness, it may happen, but that should not be the expectation, in fact, there should be no expectations.

No Control – Let the thoughts float through your mind as you practice mindfulness. Again, you’ll want to acknowledge them (otherwise they’ll keep trying to get your attention) and let them move on.