What is Mindfulness? A necessary practice for these times

The closing of the working year, the end of the semester in the studies and the celebrations of these dates, can cause a significant physical and mental burden on people, a situation that this year can be especially increased by the consequences of the pandemic by COVID-19 in our lives.

Given this scenario, a practice that can be very useful is the Mindfulness (mindfulness in spanish), activity that combines relaxation or meditation techniques with the way in which we handle the situations that life imposes on us, focusing on the present and now, and connecting these experiences with the body, mind and emotions.

Gabriel Sanchezacademic of the Psychology career at the University of the Americas, Viña del Mar, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher Trainingsays that in this period, which for many people can be difficult, incorporating conscious practices into the daily routine can help calm stress and anxiety, developing healthy coping skills and creating spaces to recharge energy and promote physical and emotional well-being .

The psychologist comments that this is an ancient practice, that comes from Buddhism and that in the West began to acquire relevance at the hands of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts, who integrated practices of yoga, zen and buddhismand developed a stress reduction technique based on mindfulness, defining the Mindfulness as «paying attention intentionally to the present moment, without judging, allowing us to learn to relate directly to what is happening in our lives, here and now».

Clearly, a way to become aware of reality, giving the opportunity to consciously work with stress, pain, illness, loss or life challenges, as opposed to paying attention to what happened in the past or what could happen in the future. future.

The academic of UDLA says that the morning can be a good time to practice Mindfulness, thus positively influencing the activities carried out during the day.

You can choose any mindfulness activity that suits the person, meditation, exercises, yoga, which can even take as little as 5 minutes if you can become aware of the automatic patterns, stop them and choose a new response.

Ideally, for a moment, put everything aside, find a comfortable position, a relaxed posture and breathe deeply, concentrating on it.

“Mindfulness helps us take a moment to slow down, turn off autopilot, and stay mindfully present.”

«Taking time to do mindful activities as a family, for example, will help everyone feel less anxious. It could be a daily yoga session or even a leisurely walk through a park or hill, taking time to focus on how you feel. feel the air, the sound of the birds and the smell of the trees”, explains Gabriel Sánchez, who provides the following suggestions for the practice of Mindfulness:

Take a moment to pause during the day

Put aside what you are doing or living, breathe deeply and slowly several times. Observe the sensations of the air entering and exhaling through the nose.

Lie down, close your eyes, and mentally scan your body from head to toe or in the opposite direction, bringing your attention to each part of the body.

Do not judge or try to change anything.

“If you live in a moment of few certainties, try to embrace uncertainty, because nobody knows what will happen, how long it will last or how things will be when it ends. One thing we do know, though, is that worrying about it won’t change the outcome.»

«Learning to tolerate uncertainty is a big part of developing healthy coping skills for us. When you stay in the present moment, it means you watch what’s happening, and when you notice your mind being pulled elsewhere, you just bring it back.» back, with the anchor of the breath. That’s when this becomes a skill, «adds the specialist.

Gabriel Sánchez, academic of the Psychology degree at the University of the Americas