Good afternoon, Many of us go through the day on autopilot it's easy to get caught in the humdrum routine of this life always wondering what the future will bring or the past has caused. All too often we let our emotions guide our responses. Enter mindfulness, an ancient practice of being presently aware of your surroundings as well as your thoughts. It is the ability to fully live in the present moment. Several studies suggest that mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness, and reduce anxiety along with depression. To understand how this works we look at the root level of how we respond to our surroundings. When we have an anxiety mindset we are weary of the future often feeling like we cant attain a certain goal. This stems from our primordial flight or fight response, which these days have become essentially useless. Being that big predators are no longer hunting humans we've turned this response into a fear of let's say finishing a deadline or starting a new project. Either way, what happens when we operate in this mindset is we lose our ability to perform at our best level. When we are in the present moment ( which is all that really exists) we are able to slow down our response and observe ourselves before we take action.
One NIH - supported study found a link between mindfulness meditation and measurable changes in the brain regions involved in memory, learning, and emotion. Another NIH-funded researcher reported that mindfulness practices may reduce anxiety and hostility among youth.
So we know these practices are beneficial but how do we implement them in our crazy schedules? We suggest taking 15 minutes every morning to check-in you can download a meditation app like calm, Chopra, or headspace. All of these offer free options to start and are excellent tools to get the mind calmer. You can also go onto youtube and simply search mediations for hundreds of results. Taking time to go for a walk ideally in nature will slow down your overthinking and bring you to the present. Box breathing is a technique used by navy seals to Buddhist monks that helps you fully be in the present. Simply inhale for 5 seconds exhale for 5 seconds and hold for 5 seconds to repeat this process until you slow your thoughts.