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What Is Mindfulness?

Here at Standard Process, we make mindfulness a focal point of our employee wellness program, along with physical activity, healthy eating, and nutrition. In fact, we named February Mindfulness Month. 

The purpose of Mindfulness Month is to call attention to this often neglected, but very important, part of wellness through mindfulness exercises, like meditation. 

What is Mindfulness?

Put simply, mindfulness is the process of intentionally bringing one’s attention, in a nonjudgmental manner, to the internal and external experiences that exist in the present moment. This may include awareness of sensations, thoughts, bodily states, consciousness, and the environment, while simultaneously encouraging openness, curiosity, and acceptance. 

By practicing mindfulness, you can increase your ability to pay attention, manage stress, regulate emotions, enhance communications, cultivate empathy, and learn more easily. 

Mindfulness is exercise for the brain; by flexing your brain’s “attention” muscle, it grows stronger, and you grow happier. 

Types of Mindfulness

There are numerous methods of meditation. 

Concentration meditation involves focusing on one specific thing, such as a mantra, an object like a candle flame, or a repetitive sound. This can be challenging for beginners, who may only be able to meditate for a few minutes at a time before the mind wanders to other thoughts. If that happens, simply refocus awareness back to the chosen object or thing and let go of those other thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation is a bit different in that it encourages awareness of the wandering of thoughts as they pass through the mind without getting involved with them or judging them. This process can help you observe and understand the patterns in which thoughts and feelings tend to move. It can be both pleasant and painful to confront certain thoughts and feelings, but the point is to become enlightened to the variation of emotional states and to develop an inner balance, with practice.

Studies show that short-term benefits of meditation to the nervous system include lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less anxiety, more feelings of well-being, and improved deep relaxation.

Additional mindfulness activities include:

  • Yoga: an ancient spiritual discipline that includes the adoption of certain body postures, breath control, and meditation for health and relaxation
  • Tai chi: an ancient Chinese tradition and martial art that is known more for its relaxation and peaceful properties than its defense techniques
  • Qi gong: an ancient Chinese system of gentle exercise that promotes healing through physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation
  • Pilates: a more modern system that involves a series of controlled movements and breathing techniques that strengthen the core and improve flexibility
  • Deep breathing: uses different breathing techniques to induce relaxation

Mindfulness is a wonderful thing to cultivate. Stay tuned for more blog posts that explore other aspects of mindfulness and meditation. 

At Standard Process, we encourage mindfulness all year long. Year-round, employees are offered on-site yoga classes, and many departments gather daily for stretching and meditation. Our Positivity Project provides opportunities to practice mindfulness in a different way every month. In January, for example, Standard Process donated $1,000 and 620 food items to a local food pantry. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.