Taking Care of Yourself through Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment.  Our minds are often focused on the future or on the past.  The practice of mindfulness reminds us that we can only really affect the present.  Mindfulness can help us observe our difficult thoughts or feelings, making them feel less overwhelming.  It affects concentration by helping us focus on the present activity instead of daydreaming or worrying. In addition, mindfulness has been found to help in relaxation – although this isn’t its main purpose it is often a pleasant side effect.   Mindfulness is an evidence-based practice and research supports the positive effects of mindfulness on our mental and physical health. 

It is impossible to be mindful 100% of the time (or even most of the time) and it does take some practice.  The basic idea is that you pick something to focus on.  You could focus on your breath, or you could focus on something you’re doing like taking a walk, brushing your teeth, or engaging in a hobby.  You could also focus on music or sounds that you hear.  When you are practicing mindfulness, expect your mind to wander – this is normal and part of the process.  When you discover that your mind has wandered, just simply bring it back to what you were focusing on.

Check out the information and short videos listed on this page to learn more about mindfulness.  Dr. Russ Harris is featured in the second everyday mindfulness video.  He is a psychologist who has done a helped develop a type of evidence-based therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) that uses mindfulness and other acceptance strategies.

Everyday Mindfulness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTsUEOUaWpY (4 minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQbx2haVfMU (3 minutes)

The how and what of mindfulness

What skills:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUSaQL1_zXE&t=4s (3 minutes)

How skills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYdrMpnE93s (4 minutes)

Research on mindful meditation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0DMYs4b2Yw (2 minutes)

Mindful Meditation and Mindful Breathing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-kMJBWk9E0 (2 minutes)

https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/mindful_breathing  (Scroll down to find the audio clip: 5 minutes)

Mindfulness Meditation using Your Senses

https://insighttimer.com/evemariemugar/guided-meditations/five-senses-meditation (5 minutes)

Mindful Walking


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyBUQQfzyuE   (6 minutes)

More Ideas:

Apps and Videos: There are several apps that focus on meditation and mindfulness.  Headspace and My Life offer free versions of some meditations and an option to pay a fee to access more.  YouTube is filled with videos on mindfulness and meditation.  The website https://ggia.berkeley.edu also offers other ideas for mindfulness practice. 

Yoga: Yoga combines movement and mindfulness.  The University of Akron offers free yoga classes for students at the Rec.  You can also find yoga on YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/@yogawithadriene

Flow:  Flow is similar to mindfulness.  If you’ve ever lost yourself in an activity such as a creative task or exercise, you’ve been in a state of flow.  More info on flow: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-flow-2794768

Mindfulness as a Spiritual Practice: Although mindfulness has developed into a non-religious, secular practice its origins are in Buddhist and Eastern traditions.  Various religions have mindful practices such as mindful prayer or contemplative prayers. You may want to check with your faith community to explore ways to combine mindfulness and spirituality.