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Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It can also make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you.
Meditation has been studied in many clinical trials. The overall evidence supports the effectiveness of meditation for various conditions, including:
Preliminary research indicates that meditation can also help people with asthma and fibromyalgia.
Meditation can help you experience thoughts and emotions with greater balance and acceptance. Meditation also has been shown to:
There are many simple ways to practice mindfulness. Some examples include:
You can also try more structured mindfulness exercises, such as:
It depends on what kind of mindfulness exercise you plan to do.
Simple mindfulness exercises can be practiced anywhere and anytime. Research indicates that engaging your senses outdoors is especially beneficial.
For more structured mindfulness exercises, such as body scan meditation or sitting meditation, you'll need to set aside time when you can be in a quiet place without distractions or interruptions. You might choose to practice this type of exercise early in the morning before you begin your daily routine.
Aim to practice mindfulness every day for about six months. Over time, you might find that mindfulness becomes effortless. Think of it as a commitment to reconnecting with and nurturing yourself.
This article is written by Mayo Clinic staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.
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