What is mindfulness? According to Harvard professor and mindfulness expert Dr. Ronald Siegel, “mindfulness is awareness of present experience with acceptance” (1). Mindfulness may be a new practice to many of us, but it’s actually an ancient technique that has been used for over 2,500 years to enhance emotional well-being and alleviating suffering. Scientists studying mindfulness and meditation are learning that it can be a powerful tool in treating many psychological illnesses including depression, anxiety, addiction, disordered eating, stress-related chronic disease (1). Those who take up mindfulness meditation practice often find themselves feeling happier, more fulfilled, better able to handle stress and adversity, and more compassionate.
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, and its important to note that mindfulness is an individualized practice, so while I may favor seated meditation, someone else may prefer supine meditation or yoga nidra, and someone else may prefer walking meditation. There is no wrong way to practice mindfulness! If sitting cross-legged for 30 minutes makes you agitated or hurts your knees, you have not failed! Try another technique and embrace whatever style suits your body, mind, and routine. Below we will discuss a few common mindfulness practices, and the simple steps you can take to incorporate more mindfulness into your daily routine.