Lately, I’ve been asked some questions about mindfulness and why it is important. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware of the present moment. I strongly emphasize practice! Because being mindful takes time, patience, and regular practice to get it right. Think about how many times during the day you are focused on the past or the future. “What do I need to pick up at the grocery store?” “Where did I put my car keys?” “I can’t believe I forgot about that meeting!” These are all examples of things we think or say about past or future moments. What if we were able to focus on what is present with us right now? For those of us with anxiety or depression, this can be hard to do. The day is filled with “why did I say that” or thoughts of something that happened years ago. Or maybe anxiety over the future. A mindfulness practice can be beneficial to help us lessen those thoughts. When we are able to focus on the present, we might notice that we are anxious and, rather than judging or feeling bad about being anxious, we can simply acknowledge that we are. And then we can incorporate different techniques to manage our anxiety. Mindfulness can help us reduce stress and learn to cope with what is going on around us better. Another benefit that I have noticed is mindfulness can help us improve our concentration which can help improve our memory. By noticing the present moment, we are more attuned to the details in our environment, how we are feeling, different experiences we are having, not in a judgmental way, but in a way that simply allows us to be more aware. Over time, this helps us with focus and concentration. I have found the more regular the practice, the better the results will be. Start out slow, maybe even practicing for just a few minutes each day. The more you practice, the better you will be at mindfulness. There are many ways to practice mindfulness. Here is one way. I will be writing more about mindfulness in the coming weeks, so if you’d like to learn more, please check back.