“Mindfulness is not meant to help us escape reality but to see it clearly, without the blinding overlays of ego. Meditation is not escapism; only the layers of ego are. To stay with that vision leads to letting go while, ironically, escaping leads to holding on. In the haunted valley of human paradox, we gain and go on by losing and letting go, and mindfulness is the good shepherd within.” -David Richo
To put it bluntly, all we have is the “here and now,” and we should all put more effort into being present. We know we can’t go back to the past, or jump forward into the future—and yet, our modern, technology-driven lifestyles often distract us from what’s happening right in front of us.
We’re all busy. We have jam-packed social calendars, back-to-back work meetings, and an endless array of notifications popping up on our screens. To tap into the present moment, many are exercising mindfulness—a technique that dates back to ancient Buddhism.
Mindfulness is all about having a moment. If you’re curious about mindfulness, why it’s beneficial for your health, and how to get better at it, keep reading to learn the ins and outs of this practiced mental state.
What is Mindfulness?
In simple terms, mindfulness is a conscious act of being fully aware of your surroundings, body, breath, and mind. Mindfulness originated as a Buddhist practice to foster attention and alertness. The technique soared in popularity across the globe, evolving into an act of focusing your full-body awareness on the present moment—and away from daily distractions.
We all have the ability to be mindful; it’s a technique that can be learned and practiced every day. Like a muscle, the more you work on your mindfulness, the stronger it will become.
Why Practicing Mindfulness is Good for Your Health
Not only is mindfulness a technique that we can all utilize for free, it’s also loaded with perks that benefit your overall health. Here are three interesting health benefits that come with being mindful:
Enhanced cognitive function
A 2019 study found that novice meditation practitioners experienced considerable changes to the structure of their brains for the better. This included increased gray matter volume and cortical thickness, which contributed to improved mood regulation.
Better mental well-being
In 2020, researchers found that leaning into mindful practices during unstable times can help ease fear and anxiety, even when stress levels are accelerated. The study also notes that mindfulness “is a low-cost beneficial method of providing support with anxiety for all."
Pain and illness management
Mindfulness may even influence cancer prevention. A 2019 study found that women who meditated had increased levels of physiological melatonin (a cognitive hormone that may have anti-cancer properties) compared to women who did not meditate.
5 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness Every Day
You can find a sense of mindfulness in almost any activity. To help you get started with your mindful practice, we recommend you try these five in-the-moment activities:
Carve out five minutes of your day to practice conscious breathing, also known as "breath work." Pick a time that works best for you—could be first thing in the morning to begin your day, around lunch time as a way to break up the work day, right before bed, or any time in between. An easy beginner's approach is the 4-7-8 method (otherwise known as the "box breath"). Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.
Headed back into the office? Try being fully aware and fully present while you commute. Whether you take public transit, walk, or drive in your car, you can find mindful moments from point A to point B. Take notice of the world around you, like the cars on the road, music playing, or smells in the air. Turn your commute into an experience you look forward to.
Meditation is one of the most widely-known mindfulness practices. It helps you draw focus inward to notice your thoughts and patterns. As a result, you may experience more calmness and become less reactive. For guided meditations, check out the Insight Timer app. There’s a large library of free meditations led by experts.
One minute, you’re ravenous. The next, you’re stuffed to the brim. We’ve all been there. Try mindful eating to truly enjoy your food and get the most out of each meal. It’s a thoughtful effort to slow down while you eat. Notice all the goodness your meal offers while you chew—different textures, flavors, nutrients and vitamins. Mindful eating can also help you become aware of when you’re full and satiated so you don't over-do it.
The benefits of getting regular exercise are profound. Physical activity can promote better sleep quality, boost energy levels, decrease stress and anxiety, maintain a healthy weight, and improve mood. And what's better than movement? Mindful movement. Activities like yoga help you experience a moving meditation that connects your mind, body, and spirit. You can practice yoga at home with free online classes, outside in a park with friends, or find a local studio near you.
Mindfulness benefits your mental and physical well-being. All humans have the capacity to be more mindful; it just requires some attention and action. Getting started with your own mindful practice may look as simple as intentionally adding a daily multivitamin to your morning routine. DISCO is a women’s gummy with 15 crucial vitamins and minerals and stress-relieving adaptogens like Ashwaghanda & Rhodiola.
Find out why you’ll love mindfully incorporating our DISCO gummy multivitamin into your daily routine here.