Mindfullness: A new approach to well-being

By: Maddie White A Kidz Clinic

According to Psychology today, “mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future”. Rather than a biological trait or characteristic, mindfulness is a state of being.

The best time to practice living in the moment is during times of stress. Even the thought of “awakening” to moments of stress may feel overwhelming, unattainable, or impossible for the brain, so why not tune into physical symptoms of stress to let our bodies do the “thinking”? Stress can look different in all of us, and some of the signs include: feeling irritable, defensiveness, restless sleeping, criticism of self and others, difficulty concentration, clenched jaw, increased heart rate, digestive problems, or even headaches or skin rashes.

So, “I’m stressed, now what?” Here are a few examples of mindfulness practices: 1) take a moment to stop what you are doing, pause, and focus on taking 3 deep breaths, inhale for 3 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds, 2) tune in to your senses and notice what you are seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, and tasting in that moment, 3) close your eyes and imagine yourself relaxing in the sun on a warm, white-sanded beach and tune into your senses – feel the sun, breathe the air, and notice your state of relaxation. Feel free to create your own “beach”, just find a place you imagine to be relaxing.

Using mindfulness as a tool to help promote relaxation, just for a few moments a day, can benefit all of us with reaching higher brain functioning, increased immune function, lowered blood pressure, lowered heart rate, increased awareness, increased attention and focus, increased clarity in thinking and perception, lower anxiety levels, experience of calmness, and experience of connecting with ourselves and others.

Because mindfulness is a tool, a skill to practice, build, and strengthen, it is important to create a routine that works for you. There is no one right way to practice, yet consistency and regularity are the pathways to success. Find the right motivation, find the right attitude, find the right timing, find the right spot and posture, find what works for you, and stick with it!

About A Kidz Clinic

A Kidz Clinic cares about the health of young people. We offer medical, dental and behavioral health services through Delta County School District and other local partnerships.