“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
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 3-Minute Breathing Space Exercise
Mindfulness does not take up time. You can try one small exercise to move your mind in a better direction. Can you find three minutes for this exercise?
Here are the steps to complete this exercise:
- During the first minute, begin breathing and focus on answering the question “how am I doing right now?” Focus on any feelings, thoughts, and sensations that arise.
- During the second minute, focus solely on the act of breathing.
- During the third minute, expand your attention from the act of breathing to the in’s and out’s of your breaths and how they affect the rest of your body.
Want more? Try the “Five Senses” Mindfulness Exercise.
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.