Last year I lost a parent. At times I found myself swallowed with grief – a gurgling fountain of emotion including anxiety. A friend recommended mindfulness. I thought, “What in the world is mindfulness? Where do I even begin?”
Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years but was introduced in the US by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Learning mindfulness under several Buddhist teachers, he founded the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His program combines an eastern foundation with western science, in a practice called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
I always overthink everything. It’s a blessing and a curse, so I had to do more research before putting this into practice. What I learned is that mindfulness can be done as an individual or group practice. It can be done during a yoga practice, during meditation, and even during everyday activities (like washing the dishes).
Mindfulness is widely used to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, performance, sleep deprivation, addiction, and PTSD. Essentially no matter where you are in your life mindfulness can help and there is a mindfulness exercise that easily fit into your routine.
In this series of posts, I’ll explore mindfulness exercises that you can incorporate into your life. Some might work for you and others – well – you might think, “no way.”
First up, we’ll explore mindful breathing. I’ll walk you through the process and provide some tools so you can try it out for yourself.