(HealthDay)—Feel yourself being pulled in a million directions and losing track of what's really important? The meditative practice called mindfulness can help you get centered and re-focus on what's meaningful to you.
And it doesn't take time that's already in short supply on your busy schedule. You can reap the benefits in less time than it takes for a coffee break.
Mindfulness shows you how to block out distractions and replace stress and other negative emotions with a sense of well-being. You accomplish this by focusing on the here-and-now—your present thoughts and feelings, not past concerns or future worries. You also learn to accept these thoughts and feelings without passing judgment on them, such as labeling them as good or bad, right or wrong.
Practicing mindfulness is easier than you might think. At the start of each day, you might take 10 minutes to do a few yoga stretches—yoga incorporates mindfulness because it teaches you to focus on your breathing as you move through poses.
Or spend 10 minutes at lunch or anytime during your workday to do a head-to-toe de-stress. Breathe in and out as you zero in on each part of your body, going from toes to the top of your head.
To unwind at night, consider more formal "guided" mindfulness, maybe with a podcast you can listen to through your smartphone. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free ones, starting at just 3 minutes long.
Who doesn't have time for that?
Explore further: The benefits of 'being in the present'
Learn more about mindfulness at the website of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.