Mindfulness – more than just meditating!

By Chelsea Calello, LAC

It’s very easy for us to lose focus in the fast paced world that we live in today. The antidote for getting “lost” in this accelerated lifestyle is something that’s hiding in plain view…Mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be described as a mental state that is achieved by focusing one’s awareness in the present moment, while maintaining a non-judgmental view of one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

When I teach my clients mindfulness, the transformation that happens is incredible. I’ve watched clients get in control of their stress, improve their depression, and reduce their anxiety. And it doesn’t matter how old you are. We teach these techniques to children, teens and adults alike!

Research has shown that when teens practice mindfulness (compared to the control group who did nothing), there was a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression. The study went one step further and assessed stress, anxiety and depression at 3 different times – baseline, post intervention, and a 6-month follow up. And guess what? The improvements were maintained!

Mindfulness may seem challenging to some but there are many different ways to practice it. Being mindful is not just about meditating (although it is something that helps many people). There are many other more active mindful techniques that I teach, including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. All of them can be done in almost any setting like school, work, at home or on the train.

Are you ready to feel happier? Give this a try – it’s one of our favorites from Dr. Andrew Weil called 478 Breathing:

Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.