Practice the single habit that can unlock the powerful secrets of anti-aging. Mindfulness improves your mental and physical health and gives you the skills needed to make change for a longer and happier life.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a seemingly simple habit. It involves being ‘present’ in the moment – aware of what is going on around you, what you are thinking about, and how you are feeling.
This deceptively straightforward practice is immensely powerful. By connecting you simultaneously to the world around you and your inner dialogue, mindfulness allows you to make the most of your life.
Mindfulness helps you fully revel in the positive moments, and – in difficult moments – it enables you to be considered in your response.
Mindfulness has been proven to result in less stress; improve decision-making; and to reduce the risk of serious health conditions including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
It is also a toolkit that allows you to take control of your choices – helping you stick to your nutrition or exercise plan, instead of making snap decisions that you might regret later.
But the ability to be mindful takes practice. You can develop your skills using techniques like meditation and can become proficient quickly through short sessions of regular concentration.
Use our quick guide to get started.
Three easy steps to mindfulness for beginners
1) Set aside two minutes every day
For those starting out with mindfulness, a short meditation session without distractions is the best introduction. Find somewhere you feel comfortable and where you won’t be disturbed and give yourself two minutes each day to focus on being mindful.
2) Use those two minutes to create awareness
In your daily session, begin by paying attention to your breathing. As you follow each inhale and exhale, consider how your body feels and be aware of how your mind is behaving. If your mind is wandering to other subjects – which it will – don’t feel frustrated or judgmental of yourself, just practice bringing your attention back to your breath.
Once you have had plenty of practice and feel comfortable with your ability to maintain awareness of your breath, you can begin allowing yourself to be curious about other thoughts that occur to you during your daily practice.
Mindfulness is not about strictly de-cluttering your mind, it is about how to wield your awareness in a productive and helpful way. Gently placing focus on these thoughts can offer deeper insight into your own thinking.
3) Begin transferring this skill to everyday tasks
Introduce mindfulness in your wider life by picking a few daily tasks during which you can be mindful.
While washing the dishes or brushing your teeth, practice the awareness skills you have learned. Think about the activity you are doing and focus on how your body and mind feel, pay attention to how your mind wanders, and bring your thoughts back to the present moment.
Over time, you will be able to bring full focus to these tasks, turning them from necessary chores to islands of calm in your day. With even further practice, you’ll be able to call upon these techniques in moments of stress to prevent feelings of being overwhelmed and to help you work through difficult situations.