There are many things we can do to develop and enhance healthy minds. Mindfulness, expressing gratitude, and deep breathing are all simple skills we can develop.
The concept of mindfulness is one embraced by those dealing with stress, pain, mental health issues, sleep problems, and weight issues. It’s simple, really: mindfulness is non-judgemental attention paid to the present moment. It involves acknowledging events, thoughts and feelings, but not reacting to them.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to gradually develop control and a sense of well-being.
Gratitude is an appreciation of the good things that happen in our life, even in times when it seems that everything is going wrong. It helps us connect to something larger than ourselves as individuals, whether to other people, to nature, or to a higher power.
The feeling of gratitude involves two stages:
- Acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life, noting the elements that make it not just worth living, but rich with texture and detail.
- Recognition that this goodness lies outside the self: in other people, animals, and in the world.
With a huge array of benefits, deep breathing is something we can do anywhere, any time. While easy, it’s important to learn how to do it properly; breathe through the nose and into the abdomen (not the chest), with slow breaths in a rhythm of 3-4 seconds in and 3-4 seconds out.
Combine the strategies
These three strategies can be used at the same time. Breathe deeply and rhythmically, be aware of your surroundings and your thoughts and feelings, and then think about the things that have happened during your day for which you are grateful.
The benefits of regular practice include:
- Stronger self-control
- Better physical and mental health
- Better weight control