“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” We are all able to practice mindfulness, we just need to know how to access it. Even though it seems like a relatively straight forward concept, mindfulness can be difficult for individuals to do. The main reason it can be difficult is because we live in such a busy world. We are constantly going from one thing to the next, that it can be hard to only focus on the present moment, but we all need to try and be more mindful as mindfulness has been scientifically proven to help improve individual’s health, happiness, and even relationships.
There are many ways someone can practice mindfulness. You can practice it while you are sitting, standing, or even walking. Simply taking a moment to pause and reflect about what is currently happening can add numerous benefits to your day. When we are more aware of our current thoughts and emotions, we can respond with more respect and kindness to whoever are talking with, even if it is ourselves. The nice thing about mindfulness is that you can fail as many times as you want. When you are trying to think of only the current moment, you are going to have other thoughts come into your head which is okay! Whenever this happens, which it will, simply re-center yourself and focus again on your breath. Like I mentioned before, we live in a world where we are constantly on the go, so to truly only think about the current moment can be very difficult to do, which is why it is okay to mess up.
Author Allison Aubrey encourages the practice of RAIN which stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture. This four-step process is one way we can all practice mindfulness. We first need to recognize and acknowledge our thoughts or our emotions. Then we need to allow those thoughts and feelings to be there by saying something like “It’s Okay.” Thirdly it is important to investigate why we might be feeling the way we are. Sometimes our emotions are stemming from something which is not even true. Lastly it is important to nurture ourselves by being kind and loving ourselves. This process is just one way we can all practice mindfulness.
As mentioned before the benefits of mindfulness are numerous. Individuals can get better sleep, start having a healthier lifestyle, lower their stress levels, and even help improve their attention span. The more we can practice mindfulness, the better we will get at it. Whether it is meditating for 10-15 a day, practicing the RAIN technique, doing yoga, or even going on a walk, try and find something that works for you and implement it into your routine each day. You won’t regret it!
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.