Connect with us


Want to practice mindfulness? Expert reveals steps for incorporating in your life

An Emeritus Professor (Psychology) Education and Dean of Academics at Apeejay Stya University, stresses the need to bring mindfulness into everyday activities



Today, mental health is very important, especially when it comes to children. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, particularly in terms of mental well-being. Anxiety and depression are two common issues that most students have been facing post-COVID, impacting their academics. However, practicing mindfulness offers numerous benefits for mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

While most of us have come across the term ‘mindfulness,’ what does it mean? What are the benefits, and how does one practice it? Professor Dr Vimala Veera Raghavan, Emeritus Professor (Psychology) Education and Dean of Academics at Apeejay Stya University, Gurugram, said that mindfulness is a mental state of being aware of oneself and the present moment.

“This mental state is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. As you do that, calmly acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. You must intend to cultivate your awareness, attending to the present moment, the sensations, and your thoughts. As you do so, be kind and non-judgmental towards those thoughts and feelings,” Dr Raghavan explained.

At its core, mindfulness involves observing one’s thoughts and emotions with acceptance and without judgment. Mindfulness encourages an attitude of curiosity, openness, and compassion towards oneself and others. Through mindfulness, students can learn to cultivate a greater awareness of their inner and outer experiences, including the breath, bodily sensations, emotions, and the environment.

How does one practice it?

“Sit in a calm quiet place where you feel most comfortable and stay calm and quiet, breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly, focus on that inhaling and exhaling experience. Feel your breath. Notice when your mind wanders and kindly happily bring it back to the moment. Let go of the past and future. Accept the present moment,” Dr Raghavan opined and added that the best part is that anyone can practice this – an adult or a young student as well.

Step-by-step guide

1.  Set aside dedicated time. Start with short sessions – five-10 minutes – and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
2. Sit in a position that allows you to be alert and relaxed. You can sit cross-legged on a cushion, use a meditation bench, or sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your spine upright but not rigid, and let your hands rest comfortably in your lap.
3. Notice your thoughts and feelings. Instead of getting caught up in them or judging them, simply observe them without attachment.
4. If you find your mind wandering, gently guide your attention back to your breath. Be patient with yourself and understand that it’s normal for the mind to wander.
5. As you become more comfortable with focusing on your breath, you can expand your awareness to include other sensations in your body. Notice any physical sensations, sounds, or emotions that arise, and observe them without judgment.
6. Practice accepting whatever arises in your awareness without labeling it as good or bad.

Mindfulness is not limited to formal meditation practice. Try to bring mindfulness into everyday activities like eating, walking, or playing. Pay attention to the sensations, smells, and tastes associated with these activities,” Dr Raghavan said.

Reasons to practice mindfulness

Stress reduction: It helps in reducing stress by bringing your attention to the present moment and allowing you to let go of worries about the past or future. It helps you develop a non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, which can lead to a greater sense of calm and relaxation.

Improved focus and concentration: It involves training your attention to stay focused on the present moment. With regular practice, it enhances your ability to concentrate and stay focused on tasks, leading to increased productivity and efficiency in various aspects of life especially in students.

Better mental health: With so much anxiety and stress around students, mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. It can help break the cycle of negative thinking, increase self-compassion, and promote overall psychological well-being.

Physical health benefits: A healthy mind leads to improved physical health outcomes. Regular practice may lead to improved sleep quality. And we all know the importance of proper sleep for children.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.