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The Importance of Mindfulness

The hustle and bustle of everyday life can make it more challenging to quiet your mind.

Mindfulness, or being self-aware and always present, can be very hard to achieve in today’s world because of the stresses and distractions we face day in and day out.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, an MIT-trained scientist who has practiced mindfulness for almost 50 years, knows the importance of getting your mind to focus and to be present in the moment. His mindfulness program is used in more than 700 hospitals worldwide.

Several studies indicate that mindfulness is beneficial to health and wellness physically and emotionally. In fact, some experts simply view it as the next generation of exercise, which can reduce stress, anxiety and improve memory, attention and overall health. In a recent interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Kabat-Zinn discussed the best ways for people to achieve their own level of mindfulness. Here are some of his great insights:

Meditate

Meditation, according to Kabat-Zinn, is a great way to start practicing mindfulness. While your mind may wander when you first start meditating, it gets easier with more practice. It’s also important to concentrate on your breathing and breath control when meditating, Kabat-Zinn says.

Let Go

Thoughts and emotions are temporary and fleeting, and it’s important to recognize this. Holding on to negative feelings isn’t being mindful, but causes stress that prevents us from living in the moment.

Act with Intent

Take time to chew your food slowly, without conversation or distractions like televisions or reading. Not only does this help with your digestion, but the taste of your food is heightened and you eat smaller portions. When you walk, focus on your surroundings to become aware of every movement and feeling. This will change how you experience this everyday occurrence.

Overall, mindfulness is a great way to reconnect with yourself and to live younger. Mindfulness isn’t as a chore, but rather a state of being. It’s about enjoying and being fully present with what you’re doing in the moment, which helps you live in a more fulfilled way.

“It’s not a big ‘should.’ It’s not like ‘one more thing I have to put in my life—now I have to be mindful,’” Kabat-Zinn says. “It’s not a big ‘doing’ at all. It’s a ‘being’ and being doesn’t take any time.”

Click on the picture below to watch the entire “Mindfulness” segment from 60 Minutes.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, CBS NEWS
Jon Kabat-Zinn, CBS NEWS

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