Mindful living and mindfulness meditation are practices that can help reduce stress and anxiety. They involve residing in the moment by acknowledging emotions and thoughts as they come.
"Through living mindfully, we inhabit our lives," says Micki Fine, who teaches Mindful Living at M. D. Anderson's Place ... of wellness. "When we notice the details, our lives matter more to us."
Mindful living consists of:
• Paying intentional attention to the moment
• Realizing attitudes toward others, self
• Letting go of judgment
One of the most common obstacles to mindful living is stress. It prevents you from thinking about the present because you worry about what might happen in the future or what happened in the past.
We create opinions all the time, but typically we don't realize it. Living mindfully, people can become aware of thoughts and learn to recognize when they pass judgments and why. When we understand the reasons behind negative attitudes, we are more likely to let them go.
Meditate through breathing
Mindfulness meditation, the more structured method of being mindful, can be done anywhere. To practice mindfulness meditation:
• Sit with your back straight, but relaxed
• Place your feet on the floor if you are in a chair
• Cross your legs if you are sitting on the floor
• Breathe normally
• Pay close attention to the breath as it exits and enters the body
• Don't try to control your thoughts
• If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath
Make room to value the little things
Life with cancer can be extremely difficult to cope with, Fine says, but the illness may present opportunities to which others are blind.
"Those of us who aren't living with cancer often don't have the sense of how precious life is," she says.
Any moment in the day can be turned into a form of meditation and appreciation, Fine says. To do so, focus on the situation at hand.
For example, while you're in the shower don't worry about work or school. Instead, pay attention to the warmth of the water and how it feels against your skin. Smell the body wash or shampoo. Focus on the movements of your limbs.
Fine says, "The way you pay attention to something changes your experience."
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