Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness the practice of living in the present moment, and mindfulness meditation is a practice from the Buddhist tradition that uses focusing on the breath to calm the mind and body. The primary focus is your breathing. However, the primary goal is maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting enmeshed in them.

Here are the basic steps of mindfulness meditation:

  1. Sit or lay comfortably, with your eyes closed and, if possible, your spine reasonably straight.
  2. Clear your mind and direct your attention to your breathing. Observe your natural breath without trying to change it.
  3. When thoughts, emotions, physical feelings, or external sounds occur, simply acknowledge them, and let them go without judging or getting involved with them.
  4. When you notice that your attention has drifted off and become engaged in thoughts or feelings, simply bring it back to your breathing and continue.

Start by trying to meditate for 3-5 minutes, and gradually try to progress to 20-30 minutes. Remember, it's natural for thoughts to arise and for your attention to follow them. No matter how many times this happens, keep bringing your attention back to your breathing.

Information provided by Karen K. Ross, PhD, a clinical psychologist and family therapist in Los Angeles.

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