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An Introduction to Mindfulness

Written by Jennifer. M | Provisional Psychologist, PsychPhys™

In recent years, mindfulness has become a trend. However, it is so much more than that. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that has a profound impact on our general well-being.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness encompasses both awareness and acceptance. Awareness is the knowledge and ability to focus attention on one’s inner processes and experiences in the present moment. Acceptance is the ability to observe and accept those streams of thought without eliciting reactions and judgement (Psychology Today, n.d.)

Practising Mindfulness

Mindfulness can take place through meditation practices that aim to quiet the mind, and achieve a higher level of consciousness.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness improves well-being and mental health. Mindfulness meditation has been considered an important element in the treatment of a number of issues, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, stress, adjustment issues, and conflict (Cassata, 2021). It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage and regulate them.

Mindfulness improves physical health. Mindfulness can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

How to Meditate

This meditation focuses on breathing, as the physical sensation of breathing is always there and you can use it as an anchor to the present moment. Throughout the practice you may find yourself caught up in thoughts, emotions, sounds. Wherever your mind goes, simply come back again to the next breath. Even if you only come back once, that’s okay.

A Simple Meditation Practice (Riopel, 2019)

  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. 
  2. Notice what your legs are doing. If on the ground, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor.
  3. Straighten your upper body but don’t stiffen. Relax your shoulders.
  4. Notice what your arms are doing. Relax your arms and rest the palms of your hands on your legs wherever it feels most natural.
  5. Focus on your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving in and out of your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly, or your chest.
  6. Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. Inevitably, your attention will wander to other places. Don’t worry. There’s no need to block or eliminate thinking. When you notice your mind wandering gently return your attention to the breath.Keep coming back to your breath, without judgement or expectation.
  7. When you’re ready, gently open your eyes. Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

Cassata, C. (2021, June 9). 10 Areas That Mindfulness & Meditation Make Us Better.

Psychology Today. (n.d.). Mindfulness.

Riopel, L. (2019, November 28). 28 Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners to Learn.