In the Present Moment: Mindful Meditation

What comes to mind when you think about mindfulness? Some people have a basic understanding of what mindfulness looks like, but few understand how this practice can impact overall functioning. Generally speaking, mindfulness is an awareness of one’s environment.  Specifically, this means paying attention to one’s emotions, thoughts, and physical feelings without judgment and in the present moment. To learn more, check out this video of Dr. John Kabat-Zinn explaining the principles and benefits of mindfulness. There are many parts of mindfulness, but here are a few foundational ideas to be aware of:

  1. Non-judging – Being an impartial witness to one’s present experience
  2. Patience – Acknowledging that the present experience cannot be hurried
  3. Beginner’s mind – Attending to bodily functions (like breathing) as if for the first time
  4. Trust – Allowing oneself to attend to the present moment
  5. Non-striving – Paying attention to the present without the expectation that immediate change will occur
  6. Acceptance – Observing parts of yourself for what they are, even if you don’t care for them

In recent years, mindfulness has promoted the functioning of many different groups of people. For example, mindfulness principles have helped veteran and student populations, and have been linked to improving relationships, encouraging healthy eating patterns, and positively influencing mood, memory, and even the immune system. To start your experience with mindfulness, consider these steps outlined by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California-Berkeley. If you would like to learn more about mindfulness or a behavioral medicine program called mindfulness based stress reduction, start by searching our database of psychologists today! By applying the main idea of mindfulness – paying attention to one’s present moment experience without judgment, you can begin to improve your physical and mental well being today.