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Your Health and Wellness: Take a moment to be mindful

by Carol Angert on 2018-08-17T11:39:26-04:00 | Comments


Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment, such as how the air smells and feels as you walk your dog, or how a bite of bread tastes with dinner. The ultimate goal is to help shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.

Scientific examination of mindfulness shows that it can improve both physical and psychological symptoms and create positive changes in health attitudes and behaviors.

Here are two mindfulness exercises you can try on your own:

1. Basic mindfulness meditation

  • Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
  • Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  • Once you've narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas.
  • Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it as good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

2. Mindfulness in everyday moments

A less formal approach to mindfulness can also help you to stay in the present and fully participate in your life. You can choose any task or moment to practice informal mindfulness, whether you are eating, showering, walking, or playing with a child. With practice, this sense of awareness will become more natural.

  • Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body.
  • Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air to move downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then breathe out through your mouth. Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.
  • Proceed with the task at hand slowly and with full deliberation.
  • Engage your senses fully. Notice each sight, touch, and sound so that you savor every sensation.
  • When you notice that your mind has wandered from what you are doing, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the moment.

For more articles about Health and Wellness, sign-up for HEALTHbeat, a Free E-mail newsletter published by Harvard Medical School.

Join Us at the Greenburgh Library for Introduction to Meditation 

August 20 and August 27, 10:30 am to Noon

Introduction to Meditation is a series of free classes the library has been offering this summer. Classes will be held on Monday, August 20 and Monday, August 27 from 10:30 - noon in the library's Multipurpose Room.  Kristen Lu, Certified Meditation Instructor leads the classes which include a 30 minute guided meditation. Registration is not required.  For more information about the program go to the Events Calendar

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