What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a person’s state of complete awareness of their feelings, surrounding environment, sensations, and thoughts. It is also the ability to accept said feelings and thoughts without judging them. Mindfulness includes feeling sensations and having ideas in the present instead of thinking about the future or the past. It is also a way to be present, in the person’s own space, without feeling judged and uncomfortable. Finally, mindfulness is secular, meaning that practicing it does not denote activities and attitudes that have a spiritual and religious basis. 

Mindfulness benefits for Caregivers

            Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and stress in you and the person you are caring for. In fact, when feeling calmer, it is possible to navigate situations more carefully, given that you can stop, be present and then act instead of reacting immediately in a regretful way. As mindfulness can provide a sense of calmness, the person you care for will perceive this and may be calmed too. Another benefit of mindfulness is that it is a way to practice self-care. Mindfulness helps us avoid negative thoughts about past events that we can’t change and makes us see the difference between our thoughts and the present moment. Therefore, with mindfulness practice, you can recognize when you’re tired or having an emotional experience and take care of yourself more frequently.  

Possible Mindfulness activities you can do:

  1. Throughout the day, take three deep breaths and pay attention to how your body feels when you breathe.
  2. Allow yourself to pause and celebrate the everyday small things. Use a journal to document your daily acts of gratitude and to record anything you are thankful for, whether it be a memory, a joke, or something your loved one said. When you’re having a rough day, go back and read your notes.

Go for a walk and breathe deeply while focusing on the sensations you’re experiencing (smell of grass, a dog’s bark, etc.). You will feel lighter when you go home if you can focus on being fully present at the moment.

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