“Tomorrow is tomorrow. Future cares have future cures, And we must mind today.” Sophocles


Mindfulness helps improve concentration, relieve stress, and find balance

There are many emotions that come to mind when we are asked to practice mindfulness. The first is time, the second is patience, the third is getting frustrated while practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can be a difficult task to accomplish. You are basically trying to still your mind, your soul, your body, while you focus on breathing, in and out, letting the air draw in your belly, and release through your nose, paying attention to your senses. When you’re already frustrated, it can be challenging, because every small sound, smell, or disruption can cause a huge distraction.

In the busy hustle and bustle of today’s society, it can be so hard to find a quiet moment. But mindfulness doesn’t need to take center stage, it can be something you practice in small breaths throughout the day. But taking some time to initially practice on your own can help that process.

1. The first step to integrate mindfulness to your daily routine is to take 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to sit in quiet. You may have light music in the background till you get acclimated. Sit in comfortable chair and position, relax your body, your shoulders, your neck, and your breath.

2. The second step is to breathe. Breathe in the air, breathe out the stress. You can say a mantra or affirmation to yourself if that is helpful for you. “I breathe in the peace, I breathe out the stress.” Focus on your rhythm. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Don’t add stress to your experience by thinking about mastery. Think about your breath, drawing in, exhaling out.

3. The third step is to visualize. start to think of a relaxing place, or motion that can keep your mind busy. For me it is walking along the streets of Paris, wandering the boulevards, shops, and gardens, taking in the surroundings. I also sometimes think about my plants in my garden and how they are growing from seed to have small buds and leaves. I visualize peace, calmness, and focus on the present. I leave tomorrow in the future, and the past behind me, and focus on the now. I am here now, I am breathing, I am visualizing, I am being.

Once you start to practice mindfulness, in 5-10 stints, you can start to increase your time and integrate it into other activities, like walking, eating, exercising. And you will also remember to be in greater touch with your body to look for body’s cues, that it is getting stressed and it is time to practice breathing again. Instead of munching on a bag of chips, downing more coffee, or surfing the web for a distraction, you can focus on your breathing, and relaxation techniques.