What are some mindfulness techniques?

Mike Luque
One of my favorite mindfulness practices is also very easy. It involves simply sitting and increasing the awareness of the sounds around you.

Even at your desk, right now, reading this answer, you can do this.

As you sit, become aware that whatever it is you're focusing on (most likely this paragraph) there are also sounds reaching your ears, sounds that your brain is putting in the background since your primary focus is reading. Without losing your focus on your reading, become more aware of the sounds around you. What are they? From where are they coming?

You'll start to realize how many layers of sound are actually reaching your ears and that you can expand your awareness of all these sounds without losing focus on your reading.

Your brain is taking all this in at all times. It filters out what isn't immediately relevant but it is processing every little bit of it. The footsteps of the person walking around upstairs, the kids playing outside, traffic going past your window, your roommate eating a sandwich.

Now you're mindful of them. But you're only observing them, you're not judging them.

Try it out. It's surprisingly calming.
Find time for more mindfulness in your day by selecting a meditation method that puts you on the right path to peace.
  • Yoga nidra: This form of yoga is a comfortable and convenient practice. Known as "yogic sleep," Yoga nidra takes place during the in-between time of wakefulness and slumber. You relax your body as you listen to audio cues that bring awareness to your internal state.
  • Walking meditation: If you prefer to be on the move, walking meditation is an option with some action. Walking meditation is a grounded, more physical practice that can be done alone or through a guided meditation audio file or app. Awareness centers around different body parts, usually from the ground up. You visualize the motion of each with a nonjudgmental check-in of physical sensation. The focus and concentration involved in this whole-body analysis helps clear a busy mind and reminds you to experience the world as it is -- for what you can see, feel and touch right here and now.
  • Restorative coloring: The popularity of coloring for grown-ups is due to its meditative quality involved with quietly focusing on creating. While it's not officially meditation, it's an effective alternative for finding relaxation. Find a few minutes to pick up your colored pencils and bring awareness to your breathing. Inhale through your nose for the count of four with a pause at the top, and then exhale for the same length. Make art and unwind at the same time.
If you're too busy for mindfulness and meditation, then you're the one who needs it most. Even if you can't commit to 20 minutes daily, find some time to regularly restore and renew. Like many things that are good for us, a regular meditation practice can be difficult to begin, but you'll gain momentum (and gray matter in the brain) as you get going, so start breathing and commit to finding time for your mind.

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Ronald Siegel
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are forms of meditation.

Basic mindfulness meditation—Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or mantra that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.

Body sensations—Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.

Sights and sounds—Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them "sight," "sound," "smell," "taste," or "touch" without judgment and let them go.

Emotions—Allow emotions to be present without judging them. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: "joy," "anger," "frustration."

Urge surfing—When you feel a craving or an urge (to eat excess food, use an addictive substance, or practice an unwanted behavior), acknowledge the urge and understand that it will pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.