Mindfulness & Why We Practice It
Mindfulness can be as simple or complex as you want to make it: practicing mindfulness could mean dialing into your breath for a few cycles, or it could involve a complex, guided meditation with all sorts of spiritual accessories. Most likely, the mindfulness that works best for you will fall somewhere in the middle and will take some trial, error, and an open mind to discover.
The key to mindfulness is to notice, non-judgmentally, what you are experiencing in a given moment. It’s also key to focus on the breath; slowing it down, noticing how our body moves as we inhale and exhale. We can practice mindfulness in quiet, or in a crowded room full of noise and distractions. It’s a portable self-care tool that can do anywhere, anytime. You might even want to give it a try the next time you’re sitting in a stressful work meeting; just start reconnecting to your breath, and notice how it travels throughout your body. Pick up on any sensations you might not have noticed before, and allow your nervous system to slow down.
And we practice mindfulness, because our brains can be rewired through neuroplasticity. Meditation also promotes neurogenesis: the birth of new brain cells. The simple act of dropping into stillness and quiet can literally strengthen our mental capacity. And when we have greater mental capacity, it becomes easier to cope with the stresses of life in healthy and productive ways. It also helps to heal our brains from any lingering damage that may have occurred as a result of habitual alcohol use. Over the next several articles, we’ll dive into different types of mindfulness and why they’re so powerful in our alcohol-free lives.
Mindful. (2020, July.) What is Mindfulness? https://www.mindful.org/what-is-mindfulness/
Wolkin, J. (September, 2015.) How the Brain Changes When You Meditate. Mindful. https://www.mindful.org/how-the-brain-changes-when-you-meditate/