An Introduction to Mindfulness


Photo by Lauren Packard

Lauren Packard, Culture Editor

I have always found that people have a lot skepticism around the idea of mindfulness. There are many misconceptions about the topic, including the belief that it’s only things like meditation and yoga. Responses like “I don’t see the point” or “I can’t focus on this!” are fairly common. However, all of these skeptics unknowingly engage in mindfulness every day. A mindful practice can be anything that requires focus on a certain activity for a period of time. Cleaning, exercising, drawing, and reading are all examples of this. 

The main goal of mindfulness is to reduce stress and improve overall mindset. During a moment of anxiety or panic, practicing mindful techniques can bring you to a place of calm in just a few moments. There are many studies that have proven the physical and mental benefits of these techniques. Physical benefits include things like lower blood pressure and heart rate. But the mental benefits are even more extensive: mindfulness increases feelings of positivity, self-awareness, and a greater connection to those around you. Overall, those who practice mindfulness have a better quality of life and healthier relationships with others because of having an open mind.

There are many different ways that you can practice mindfulness during the day in any situation. These methods are exceptionally helpful and convenient because you just have to do them in your mind, and no one even knows you’re doing it! For example, there is a practice called “grounding” that involves using your senses to feel connected to reality in a stressful moment. To do it, name 5 things you see around you, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. Another technique that is helpful is 4 square breathing. This exercise follows a pattern of 4 second increments: inhale, hold, exhale, hold, and continue until you feel calm. Some of these techniques can be difficult at first, but with practice and patience you can master them!