Life is hectic, so it’s no surprise that our minds wander to focus on the past, and the future. This can make it hard to focus on the present and can send us walking through life on overdrive.
Mindfulness is about remaining in the present moment. It’s a psychological process where you try to focus your attention on what’s going on inside you and around you right now. Mindfulness is a skill that gets better with regular practice. You build a sort of “mental muscle” that helps you better cope with stress.
Mindfulness is also about reserving judgement. While you focus on what’s happening in the moment, you must also try to avoid judging it, stewing in it, or trying to change it.
To improve your mindfulness, you can practice the technique on your own or with others. Watch the short video below featuring Dr. Tony DeBono, a psychologist in the Child & Youth Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, as he demonstrates a beginner mindfulness practice.
How to practice mindfulness
- Select a quiet space.
- Sit upright with your back not quite touching the chair, and the soles of your feet on the floor.
- Keep your eyes open and focus them on something in front of you.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Notice how it feels and sounds. Don’t try to change it, just observe it.
- When your focus slips (and it will), bring your attention back to the current moment.
- Continue to focus on your breathing for as long as you wish to spend in the practice.
- Patrice, practice, practice and watch as your mindfulness improves.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness, visit the Hamilton Health Sciences Centre for People Development to view mindfulness courses available to the public.