Mindfulness is paying attention in three particular ways: on purpose, in the moment and without judgment. You can practice mindfulness of breathing, eating, bodily sensations (body scan), thoughts, emotions, communication (listening and speaking) and walking or other activities (such as yoga or tai chi). With more practice, you can become more mindful throughout the day, not just during formal practice periods.
Mindful practices can reduce symptoms related to anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia and stress. They also can improve attention and memory and decrease inflammatory biomarkers, such as cytokines. Imaging studies have shown that mindfulness practices can actually change the brain to increase the size and activity of areas associated with executive function, thereby increasing clarity, cognitive function and effectiveness. Mindful clinicians tend to elicit greater patient satisfaction and adherence.
Ohio State’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness offers the following free mindfulness recordings.