A simple technique called mindfulness, or mindfulness meditation, in which practitioners intentionally pay attention to the present in a nonjudgemental way, has become a useful tool in the stress management toolkit. To practice mindfulness, find a quiet place to focus your attention—on your breath or perhaps on an object. “It’s not deep breathing, but rather experiencing when the breath enters and leaves. Feel the stretch in the rib cage, without me doing anything. Can I notice when the mind takes a hike and redirect it? That redirection is the exercise.”
What’s the Big Idea?
While those who practice mindfulness report feeling less stressed and more at peace with their lives, the exercise cannot be done as a means to becoming instantly more happier. “While being aware of your feelings may be nice when drinking a lovely cup of tea or relaxing in a garden, part of mindfulness is also uncomfortable feelings—not trying to change or judge them, but being aware of them. And that may not feel so pleasant.” Working toward a goal may be what parenting or corporate life calls for, but mindfulness requires us to be urgently, actively present.