What is Mindfulness Practice?

Mindfulness practice is a simple mental exercise that reduces stress while increasing calmness, well being, and focused attention.  Both the process and goal of mindfulness is to be aware of, and focused on, your sensations in the present moment.  Although mindfulness happens spontaneously with everyone, it’s a very challenging skill that can be expertly developed with practice and actually changes the structure of the brain in helpful ways within two months of practice for 30 minutes a day.

Mindful breathing is one type of awareness exercise that produces a focused state of calm. Mindful breathing activates “the relaxation response” which brings calm and removes stress chemicals from the body. The mental health benefits include enhanced well-being, emotional regulation, impulse control, and reduced reactivity to stressors. Mindfulness practice builds a foundation of awareness skills which can be applied to changing one’s habits of thought, emotion and behavior. Mindfulness develops skills for self awareness, cognitive control, attention, and peak athletic performance. Some of the health benefits of mindful breathing include stress reduction, cardiovascular health, improved sleep, and enhanced immune function.


Mindfulness practice helps build skills to reduce stress. These skills help to:

  • Calm and rest the mind and body
  • Feel better, increase one’s sense of well-being
  • Reduce reactivity to stressors
  • Maintain health by removing stress from our bodies and boosting immune function
  • Maintain attention, patience, calmness, and improve impulse control
  • Reduce irritability, anxiety, sadness, and anger
  • Reduce pain and/or become more accepting of discomfort

Mindfulness practice helps enhance performance skills to: 

  • Keep your attention in the present moment to better perform in the present situation
  • Improve memory retention (through improved attention and decreased stress)
  • Improve cognitive, emotional and behavioral control
  • Be more resilient cognitively, emotionally, physically, and athletically
  • Increase performance in cognitive, academic, athletic, and social activities
  • Become more self-aware to recognize your own thoughts, judgments, feelings, and habits
  • Become more aware of others’ needs, emotions, and intentions through attunement


Go to the menu of exercises at the top of the page to learn how to do these five basic mindfulness practices:

  1. Belly Breathing
  2. Mindful Breathing
  3. Body Scan
  4. Mindful Walking
  5. Mindfully Eating a Raisin

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