The Importance Of Mindfulness
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Student Life

Mindfulness: The Importance Of Actually Stopping To Smell The Roses

Unsure of how to begin practicing mindfulness? We've got you covered.

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Mindfulness: The Importance Of Actually Stopping To Smell The Roses

Practicing mindfulness does not have to mean leaving work for week-long meditation retreats on secluded snow-covered mountains. It's not just for hippies living in RV's, and everyone and anyone has the potential to benefit from this practice. Practicing mindfulness, as emphasized by Psychology Today, has the ability to lead to lower levels of stress and loneliness, decreased depression and anxiety, healthier relationships, and even better work performance. Instead of interfering with work and relationships, mindfulness can actually help strengthen bonds and lead to better, more focused work. So really, no one can suffer from trying it out.

There are many apps and websites out there that can help aid beginners.

Stop, Breathe, and Think is an app that recommends short, guided meditations based on how you feel that day. It's completely free, although there is an expanded version for $10 a month. Headspace is another app similar to Stop, Breathe, and Think. Although Headspace is not free, there is a free trial available. And my personal favorite app is simply called Mindfulness. It is free and has more resources available for download. As well as having short, guided, mindfulness meditation sessions, it also comes equipped with mindfulness training and a place to track progress.


In addition to using apps, practicing mindfulness exercises throughout the day can be beneficial in making mindfulness a habit.

Breathing is so important. This may seem obvious, but how many times do you actually stop during the day and think about regulating your breathing? Moreover, are you conscious of breathing correctly? A proper breath comes not from your chest and shoulders, but from your diaphragm. Think about breathing from your stomach and pelvis into and around your lower back. Being conscious of diaphragmatic breathing is key to keeping your body well oxygenated, and focusing on breathing has been proven to lower levels of stress, anxiety, and keep high blood pressure at bay.

Be Okay is an app that aids in deep breathing and even has a section to import pictures that make you smile.

Grounding is another tried and true mindfulness technique that forces you to recognize your surroundings and stay present at the moment. To begin prating grounding, notice what you can see, taste, touch, hear and smell around you. Try the 54321 exercise for beginners. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste or that you like the taste of. As well as being a good habit for everyone to do, grounding is also extremely helpful for those who suffer from panic attacks or social anxiety.

Notice the beauty around you. If you have a moment walking to class or driving back home from work, stop a minute and look at the snow in the air or really focus on the warm, comforting taste of your coffee. I'm a daydreamer so I often spend copious hours living in made-up worlds in my head. I forget to notice the world around me, and that can be problematic. Another culprit of this is social media. I'm not saying to give it up completely. In fact, social media groups and posts have been really helpful for me at times, but limiting social media usage can prove to lower stress levels. It's hard enough to live in one world. Updating various online worlds and being constantly connected is not always a good thing. Staying present in the moment is hard, but it can become a habit just like anything else.

Go out into the world and notice the beauty. Take time for yourself and breathe. You can do this. You've already come this far.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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