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Mindfulness Muscles

Incorporate mindfulness this new year with these helpful tips from meditation instructor, Lea Grimaldi

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgement. But what exactly does that mean, and how can you incorporate mindfulness into your daily habits? One way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. The program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed by Professor and Scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn to help outpatients living with chronic pain and other conditions. The program’s success led to the creation of a type of psychotherapy developed by a team of therapists to integrate mindfulness with cognitive behavioral therapy, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).

Below are five benefits of mindfulness and ways to flex your mindfulness muscles today.

Benefits of Mindfulness:

1)     Better moods – Through regular mindfulness practice, including meditation, we can improve emotional regulation and reactivity. This helps to decrease social anxiety and depression. As a side benefit, it helps people with chronic pain cope with their discomfort, thus improving mood.

2)     Reduces stress levels – Mindfulness breathing techniques alone

For example, bringing awareness to our breath help us naturally destress. This is supported by studies showing the effects of MBCT in people with chronic pain, depression, and anxiety disorders.

3)     Improves memory – Multiple studies show that the practice of mindfulness meditation can improve working memory. In individuals that participated in an eight-week meditation program, scientists discovered higher cortical thickness levels in the hippocampus, a brain region responsible for learning and memory.

4)     Increases focus -  Mindfulness increases focus by training your brain to pay attention to what you are experiencing in the moment, which in turn increases your ability to focus.

5)     Reduces rumination – Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination which can lead to anxiety and depression brought on by overthinking.

In addition to meditation, you can also practice mindfulness through your daily habits and begin by simply paying more attention as you go about your daily routines. Something as easy as changing the route you drive to work or to the grocery store will help you stay focused instead of going on auto-pilot and checking out mentally as you drive.

The more we pay attention to our surroundings, noticing our five senses—what do we see, taste, touch, smell, and hear—the more we will tune in and strengthen our mindfulness muscle. The idea is that when we are fully present, we cannot think about the past or the future because we are in this moment, fully.

Lea Grimaldi is an author, intuitive guide, reiki master, yoga, barre, and meditation instructor with more than 20 years’ experience teaching yoga and barre classes. Her first book, Increase Your Peace from A to Z: Simple Steps to Find Calm Amid Chaos, is a mini-directory for stress relief in which she shares her daily practices to keep anxiety under control.

Her mission is to guide people to their highest potential through their self-care practice—encompassing mind, body, and spirit—one breath at a time. You can find her on Instagram at