“Mindfulness is a way of being present: paying attention to and accepting what is happening in our lives. It helps us to be aware of and step away from our automatic and habitual reactions to our everyday experiences.” –Elizabeth Thornton
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.
The Gratitude Exercise
One example of a mindfulness exercise is called the Gratitude exercise.
- First, think of one thing for which you are ungrateful. It could be a job, relationship, health condition, financial situation, etc. — anything that you react towards with anger, frustration, or rejection.
- Then, take two minutes to list all the possible “silver linings” or “hidden lessons” within this thing for which you are ungrateful. The idea is to shed light on ways to be resourceful that you never realized before.
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.