At Peace in the Present

If you could benefit from being in the moment, mindfulness may be for you.

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A woman practices mindfulness outside on an autumn afternoon.

Mindfulness isn’t just for monks and mystics, though it has its roots in both Christian and Buddhist practices. Anyone can learn it. It’s about being in the moment rather than getting things done. In a mindful state, you simply notice what’s going on—your breathing, your body, your thoughts, your feelings, anything, really—without analyzing or judging or reacting to it.

Studies have shown that mindfulness significantly reduces stress, anxiety and depression, improves sleep and lowers blood pressure. As with most exercise, whether physical or spiritual, the benefits come from doing it regularly. Many people who practice mindfulness say it draws them closer to God.

The mindfulness training Robbie Pinter participated in at Vanderbilt University had three components that you can apply to your own life.

1. Use supportive phrases to keep things in perspective. For example, if you feel overwhelmed by stress, remind yourself, “This too shall pass.”

2. Accept events for what they are. Don’t agonize over what they might mean in the future. As Corrie ten Boom put it, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

3. Meditate. Sit in a quiet, comfortable place. Focus on the natural rhythm of your breathing, each inhale and exhale, letting your body relax. It can help to silently repeat a word like peace or part of a prayer or verse as you inhale. If a thought drifts into your mind, let it go and return your focus to your breathing and your word or prayer.

Read Robbie's story!

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