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The Power of Mindfulness: Simple Techniques for Everyone to Improve Mental Health




Mindfulness. There are two very good definitions that I am sure will support your understanding and will give some clarity.


  • “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”

  • “Intentionally directing attention to present moment experiences with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance.”

Practising mindfulness reduces stress, enhances cognitive function, and improves well-being.

There are two important components, the first being self-regulation of attention and the second being the adoption of curiosity, openness, and acceptance of one’s experience.

Formal Mindfulness Practice

In my experience, dedicating a specific time and space for mindfulness practice can be beneficial. This could involve sitting meditation, breathing exercises, body scan, mindful movement, or visualization, for instance. By intentionally setting aside time for these practices, we can cultivate moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness and deepen our understanding of the workings of our mind. Often, these practices involve assuming specific body positions for some time, which can help us focus our attention and promote relaxation.

Informal Mindfulness Practice

Incorporating mindfulness into daily life and routines involves creating mindful moments and bringing awareness to everyday activities like walking, dishwashing, housekeeping, eating, and talking to others. There are many studies and clinical trials that demonstrate the positive results of mindfulness practices in managing depression and anxiety. Mindfulness can help people with insomnia or sleep disorders as it eases a stressed-out mind. Most stress comes from thoughts about the past or worries about the future and is rarely connected to the present moment. When you practice mindfulness, you train your mind to focus on the present moment. This is the moment that matters now. Wayne Dyer once said, "If you change how you look at things, the things you look at change." Sometimes, all it takes is changing how we look at things, being more present, and living in the moment.

Here are three easy-to-follow techniques:

1. Three-Minute Breathing Space:

Set a timer for three minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, if possible, in a relatively calm environment. Close your eyes if you prefer. Notice what's happening in your mind and body at the moment. Are you worried about a problem or mistake? Do you feel warm or cold? Is there any distracting sound in your surroundings? Observe whatever you're experiencing without judgment.

Focus on your breath, paying attention to the sensation of air flowing in and out of your body.

Gradually expand your awareness beyond your breathing to include your entire body. You may notice your posture, facial expression, or muscle tension. Again, simply pay attention to whatever's happening in your body.


2. Mindful Listening:

Choose a particular sound in your current environment, whether it's on a bus or in your kitchen, and focus on it for several minutes. After identifying a sound, follow this mindful listening technique:

Close your eyes if it's comfortable. If not, find a spot in your surroundings to gaze softly at.

Listen deeply to the sound, taking note of its tone, rhythm, and volume.

Stay with the sound as best you can. If your mind wanders, acknowledge it and return your focus to the sound.

End the exercise whenever you feel ready to stop.


3. Four-Seven-Eight Mindful Breathing:

The four-seven-eight mindfulness technique is a deep breathing exercise that's particularly useful for anxiety and sleeplessness. To practice this technique:

Close your eyes if it's comfortable. If not, gaze softly at a spot in your surroundings.

Inhale for a count of four.

Hold for a count of seven.

Exhale for a count of eight.

Breathe deeply from the pit of your belly so that your lungs fill up entirely.

Stay with this breathing pattern as best you can.

End the exercise whenever you feel ready to stop.

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