Mindfulness: Why It’s Important and How to Practice
Awareness Self Help

Mindfulness: Why It’s Important and How to Practice


As Dr. Daniel J. Siegel says “The power of awareness changes our well-being”, that is, being mindful and being aware is important to a person, has an effect on the person’s life and plays a major role in determining the person’s overall well-being. “Mindfulness means paying attention to or being aware of our thoughts, feelings, actions and our environment.”

Mindfulness helps a person to sense his bodily actions and sensations, having a thought or idea of what he is doing at the moment. Mindfulness helps a person to live in the moment and thus helps him to enjoy his/her doing. A person will be surrounded with his friends or with his family members but because of his absent-mindedness or not being aware of the environment, he wouldn’t be able to enjoy the company of others and in the end, he might feel unconnected to them.

Had he been mindful, he would have enjoyed the feeling of connectedness which would have helped him socialize with others and build interpersonal relationships. Mindfulness in its most general sense is about waking up from a life on automatic and being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences. With mindfulness, awareness about the flow of energy and information that enters our mind receives conscious attention and we can both appreciate its contents and come to regulate its flow in a new way.

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As said by Daniel J. Siegel, “Mindful awareness, as we will see, actually involves more than just simply being aware: It involves being aware of aspects of the mind itself. Instead of being on automatic and mindless, mindfulness helps us awaken and by reflecting on the mind we are enabled to make choices and thus change becomes possible.”

The benefits of Mindfulness are;

  • It helps to reduce stress and improves working memory
  • Makes a person less emotionally reactive
  • helps to feel relaxed and satisfied.
  • Helps to focus on work.
  • Improve immune system functioning.
  • Improves attention and concentration
  • helps to be more productive regularizes sleep patterns
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Mindfulness helps a person to understand, tolerate and healthily deal with his emotions.
  • It helps a person to live in the present moment rather than in past or future.
  • It helps a person to be in touch with his self.
  • The overall wellbeing can be improved by mindfulness and the performance of the person can be increased.

The Mindfulness exercises that can be practised at home are;

Relaxation Breathing

This meditation can be used when a person feels anxious, pressured, panicked or stressed. A simple exercise to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – i.e., the relaxation Response – involves regulating the breath to lower the blood pressure quickly and effectively. This can be practised by, ‘Closing the eyes and taking a deep breath in for a count of four, and then exhaling for a count of eight. As inhaling, visualise the movement of oxygen through your respiratory system. As you exhale, imagine any stresses that you have been holding floating away. Repeat five times.’

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Mindful Breathing Meditation

This can be done twice a day to develop better focus, attention and a greater overall sense of clarity and calm over time. Mindfulness is the practice of awareness of the present moment, enabling us to dis-associate with the notions of the past and the future that trigger rumination and stress. With mindful breathing meditation, we use the breath as an object of meditation, concentrating deeply on the rhythm and sensation of our most basic life force. Think of it as an exercise for your brain that strengthens your “attention muscle” by forcing your awareness inward and challenging you to stay focused.

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This can be praticed by Sitting comfortably with a long and straight spine with a slow and oceanic breath. Begin counting your inhales and exhales from one to ten (inhale one, exhale one; inhale two, Exhale two; etc.). When you reach ten, start again but count backwards to one. Repeat this cycle five times. When you have completed five cycles of breath counting, continue to breathe at this calm, steady pace for two to three minutes, visualizing the breath moving through the respiratory system and appreciating its physical relationship with the body.

Body Scan Meditation

This can be done to build body awareness and ease tension after a long day or before falling asleep at night. A body scan meditation allows us to identify where unconscious holding patterns reside and heals to release them with our own awareness, enabling us to relax completely. It can be practised by Sitting or lying down in a comfortable position and taking a few moments to find a calm and steady breathe. Then, bring your awareness to the sensations of the body. Take a slow breath at each focal point beginning with the left toes and checking in with left foot, left ankle, calf, knee, thigh – through the left hip. When you notice an area of tension or discomfort, take a deep breath in and relax as you exhale. Repeat on the right side.

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Follow along the pelvic region, Abdomen and lower back, moving up through the torso and heart region, feel through the sensations in the fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, temples, ears, eyes, forehead, crown of the head and skull. Any part of the body where you feel discomfort or stressed, take a deep breath in and just relax the part by exhaling the discomfort out of your body.

Thus a person can carry out his daily activities (like studying, listening, eating, playing. walking, conversing with others, etc.) mindfully which helps him to be active and remain focused, as a result of which his overall well-being can be improved.

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