Mindfulness Matters

One of the keys to living intuitively is being present and staying in the moment. That means practicing mindfulness – or being aware of every thought, feeling or sensation that you experience.

Mindfulness not only teaches you to recognize the subtle changes in your mental and emotional landscape, helping you note, for example, the exact moment the mood in the room changed. But it also helps to relieve stress, according to a study done by West Virginia University. That’s not surprising to me: When my father was dying of cancer, it was mindfulness that gave me a break from the anxiety and fear I constantly felt because when I was truly in the moment, everything was ok. It was the future that seemed so scary.

Intuitive Action Item: If you’re trying to learn mindfulness, such exercises as yoga, meditation and tai chi can help you get there because they quiet your mind. Or you can try something as simple as one of the exercises that study participants used. They took their time when eating a raisin. Rather than gobbling it down, they studied it, took in its aroma (who knew raisins even had a scent) and slowly savored the taste, forcing their minds to focus only on that raisin rather than the distractions going on around them.

If you’re not convinced learning mindfulness is worth the time, consider this: The study’s lead investigator Kimberly Williams told CNN that after the experience, participants “had significantly less daily hassles, psychological distress and significantly fewer medical symptoms.”

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