THE BENEFITS OF LIVING MOMENT BY MOMENT
Paying attention to what’s going on right this second can be hard. We often spend more time thinking about what’s coming up in the future. Or dwelling on things in the past we can’t change. We can miss out on experiencing the present. It’s possible to train yourself to focus on the present moment. You become aware of what’s going on inside and around you—your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. You observe these moments without judgment. This is called mindfulness. “We’re looking at our thoughts and feelings with curiosity, gentleness, and kindness,” explains Dr. Eric Loucks, director of the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation. Meditation is a practice that aims to increase awareness of the mind and concentration. In recent years, mindfulness has become a household term. Mindfulness programs are now commonly found in schools, workplaces, and hospitals. Mindfulness can involve a sitting meditation that’s practiced in a quiet space. In this practice, you focus on your breathing or sensations in your body. If your mind wanders—like thoughts popping in about things you need to do—you try to return your mind to the present moment. But mindfulness doesn’t have to be done sitting still or in silence. You can integrate the practice into things you do every day, like walking or eating. You can also be mindful while interacting with others.