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Mindfulness Exercises

Live Your Life in the Present Moment

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Updated December 08, 2010

Using mindfulness can be an excellent way of coping with stress and anxiety. Mindfulness has been around for ages. However, mental health professionals are beginning to recognize that mindfulness can have many benefits for people suffering from a variety of psychological difficulties, including posttraumatic stress disorder. There are a number of different mindfulness skills and exercises, and you can learn more about them in this article.

1. Skills of Mindfulness

In a nutshell, mindfulness is about being completely in touch with the present moment and being open to experiences as they come. Mindfulness is made up of a number of skills, all of which require practice. These skills include awareness, nonjudgmental/nonevaluative awareness, being in the present moment, and beginner's mind. You can learn more about these skills in this article, as well as ways of strengthening these skills.

2. Mindful Awareness of Your Breathing

Focusing on each and every breath is an excellent way of beginning to increase your awareness of the present moment. This basic mindfulness exercise takes you through a number of steps that will help you learn how to be more mindful of your breathing.

3. Being Mindful of Sounds

Practicing mindfulness of sounds can be an excellent exercise for getting in touch with your present moment external environment, as well as practicing and improving the mindfulness skill of non-judgmental observation. This article takes you through a simple exercise designed to increase your non-evaluative awareness of sounds in your present moment environment.

4. Sitting Meditation

Sitting meditation is an excellent way of practicing mindfulness, as well as learning how to bring acceptance to your thoughts and feelings. In this article, Dr. Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, About.com Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, discusses how you can practice sitting meditation and increase your acceptance of your internal experiences.

5. Eating Mindfully

Life can become very busy and stressful, and as a result, we often rush through our day without taking time to really notice and enjoy present moment experiences. One way of getting in touch with the present moment is through mindful eating. We often eat our meals quickly without even paying attention to the rich experience of eating. This mindfulness exercise is designed to help promote mindful eating.

6. Beginner's Mind

Beginner's mind, a skill of mindfulness, focuses on being open to new possibilities. It also refers to observing or looking at things as they truly are, as opposed to what we think they are or evaluate them to be. This easy mindfulness exercise is designed to help foster beginner's mind.

7. Mindfulness of Thoughts

Mindfulness can be a wonderful skill to practice when it comes to coping with your PTSD symptoms; however, it can be difficult to be mindful of thoughts, especially those that usually accompany a PTSD diagnosis. People with PTSD may struggle with unpleasant thoughts and memories of their traumatic event. These thoughts can take control over a person's life. Mindfulness can be used to take a step back from your thoughts and reduce their power to impact your life. This simple exercise will help you learn how to be mindful of your thoughts.

8. Mindfulness of Emotions

Practicing mindfulness of emotions may be quite beneficial if you struggle with intense and unpleasant emotions. An exercise for promoting mindfulness of emotions is presented here.

9. Mindfulness of Everyday Activities

Mindfulness can be a very useful skill to learn for managing PTSD symptoms and anxiety in general. This article presents some ways that you can bring mindfulness to your everyday activities.

10. Mindfulness of Physical Sensations

Practicing mindfulness of physical sensations can be an excellent exercise for getting in touch with your present moment experience, as well as practicing the mindfulness skill of non-judgmental observation as it applies to your own body.
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