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Updated: Mar 12, 2023

5 ways to live here and now

There's a certain disconnect that plagues almost everyone these days: your body is doing one thing—sitting in a meeting or eating dinner with the family—while your mind is miles away. Call it being in two different places at once, but mental health professionals say it's more problematic. Not being present in the present is an open invitation to stress and feeling bad. "Our minds tend to focus on worries about the future, or traumas, or less favorable experiences from the past, while our bodies may be in a neutral or even pleasant place," says Cory Goldberg, clinical psychologist and founder of the Chicago-area Therapy Center. Enter mindfulness. The now ubiquitous concept, rooted in Buddhism, is defined as turning attention inward and awareness of thoughts. When we meditate we meet our thoughts and thus slowly learn to recognize and control them. The benefits are huge. It lowers stress and anxiety, sometimes more than medication. Meditation increases the ability to enjoy positive experiences, stops harmful thoughts, and increases the ability to concentrate.

Meditation It is the most well-known way to achieve mindfulness - but it is not suitable and does not work for everyone. Some find it embarrassing or anxiety-inducing, or find it difficult to sit still. Fortunately, "a person can practice mindfulness while engaging in any other activity," says Goldberg, "and in any period of time." . Here are 5 ways to practice mindfulness:

1. Listen to music Getting lost in a good song is an effective way to practice mindfulness. The first step in mindful listening is to consider what counts as focused attention. This is how you can tell if your mind is starting to wander. For example, focusing on a song might mean "noticing the melody, observing how your body feels and moves without judgment, or focusing on the words of the song or the sound of the instruments," she says.

2. Make a puzzle In addition to being a fun way to pass the time, experts say, puzzles exercise your brain, foster creativity and promote awareness. Kelly Neupert, a psychotherapist in Chicago, likes puzzles because they provide organization without many rules. It centers the focus on doing, on finding the right part

3. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 method One popular mindfulness exercise can be especially helpful in moments of panic, when you're looking for shortcuts to calm down. The 5-4-3-2-1 method, as it's often called, involves using all five senses (also called sub modalities) to "get into your body and out of your busy mind," says Tina Hantiok, a mindfulness teacher in British Columbia. She describes it like this: That's five things you can see and four things you can touch. Then Look for three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste or be thankful for. It helps to feel calm and peaceful. Activating all the sub-senses forces us to live in the here and now.

4. Focus on the movements Even our walks can be more conscious. Joy Rains, author of Meditation Illuminated: "Simple ways to manage your busy mind," suggests paying attention to our feet connecting with the ground, and repeating the words: lifting, moving, positioning, moving. "When you raise your right leg, quietly say "raise" As you move forward, say "move" and then the word "landing" as you make contact with the ground. Later repeat these words to yourself. It drives away worry and anxiety.

5. Pay attention to your pet

When you go outside with a dog, and if you don't have a dog, you can pay attention to the dogs you meet.

Instead of allowing your brain to drift into the workday ahead or the errands to manage, stay focused on the present by concentrating on all the things your senses are experiencing, Rains advises: "Pay attention to the dog's tail, whether it's rattling, the sound of its panting, or the sound of its feet clicking on the pavement, and its hot breathing," she says. " "Whenever your brain wanders, gently turn your attention back to the dog, even if it's every second or two."

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