Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) used worldwide to improve health and enhance wellness defines mindfulness as “Paying attention to the present moment on purpose as if your life depended on it in a non-judgemental way.” It is slowing our lives down to notice what’s happening as its occurring instead of worrying about the future or dwelling in the past.
Research indicates mindfulness contributes to improved physical health, greater immunity, less pain from chronic health conditions, shorter recovery times from surgery and many other mind-body benefits including decreased stress and better moods. All it takes is time and consistent practice for it to work.
Here’s a fun way to practice. Take a good piece of chocolate, and mindfully eat it. To start, observe the chocolate and how it appears. Then sniff it and notice the aroma. Feel the texture and surface of it. Pay attention to the sounds your body makes as you draw the chocolate near. Finally, put it in your mouth and savor the flavor, texture, taste and total sensory experience. Mindfulness in action. Likewise, you can use a raisin or grape or slice of apple. It’s up to you.
This week dedicate 10 minutes daily to pay full attention to the present moment: playing with your child, sitting/walking outside, sipping coffee/tea, washing the dishes or showering. Any activity is an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness as long as you are fully aware of it with all your senses. As Kabat-Zinn suggests, treat it as though “your life depended on it” and you will succeed.
This week’s mantra: “When I bring my attention to the present moment and savor my experience, I can improve my health and feel better.”