Living Mindfully in the Moment

Living Mindfully in the Moment

We live in a society where more than 1 in every 4 Americans say they have a great deal of stress in their life. Stress is normal and is a necessary part of one’s daily life. Stress is a feeling that’s created when we react to particular events. It’s the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. How do you handle stress? When stress feels overwhelming does it paralyze you with anxiety, worry, fear or helplessness? Or does it manifest in depression, keeping you from letting go of the past? Can you instead bring your focus to the present, to ground you in the moment? The practice of mindfulness, founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune in to what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Here are a few key components of practicing mindfulness that Kabat-Zinn and others identify: Pay close attention to your breathing, especially when you’re feeling intense emotions. Notice—really notice—what you’re sensing in a given moment, the sights, sounds, and smells that ordinarily slip by without reaching your conscious awareness. Recognize that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you, an insight that can free you from...