“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” –Jon Kabat-Zinn

A healthy body begins with a healthy mind, and a healthy mind begins with mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Simply stated, it is our ability to pay attention to the present moment, with curiosity and without judgment.

Practicing mindfulness has several benefits including increased empathy and compassion, improved immune functioning, increased happiness and optimism, improved sleep, greater focus and concentration, and reduced anxiety and stress.

There are various ways to practice mindfulness including, but not limited to, meditation and bringing attention to our daily activities.

Meditation: The Sorting Boxes Exercise

One example of a mindfulness exercise is called the Sorting Boxes exercise.

  • To begin, set a timer for 5 minutes to complete this exercise.
  • Focus on breathing normally.
  • Then, begin to notice thoughts, sensations, or emotions that come into your awareness while breathing.
  • Now, imagine there are 3 boxes in your mind labeled “thoughts”, “sensations”, and “emotions”.
  • As each enters your field of awareness, identify them as a thought, sensation, or emotion and place them in their respective box.
  • Continue clearing your mind until time is up.

Read more about “The Benefits of Mindfulness.”

Victoria Schmidgall is a student intern with The University of Vermont Medical Center Community Health Improvement team. She does personal research and designs service projects based on community needs.

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