A mindfulness meditation primer

Whether deployed or at home, you can use mindfulness as a self-care tool to help optimize your performance and balance your hectic schedule. You can become more mindful by practicing a few minutes of meditation each day.

Mindfulness is a method of focusing your awareness on the present moment in a particular way. You might spend so much of your time thinking about the past or worrying about the future that you miss the present you live in right now. Mindfulness can allow you to acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without judgment—and it’s a useful tool you can use in various military environments.

Mindfulness practice can help lower your blood pressure, bolster concentration, support your immune system, soothe anxiety, and possibly reduce depressive symptoms. Try this simple meditation from wherever you can find a quiet spot to sit for a few minutes:  

  • Sit in a chair with your spine straight, your feet on the floor, and your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up.
  • Close your eyes or focus on a spot on the floor about 3 feet in front of you.
  • Notice your breath coming in and out of your nose or mouth.
  • Practice quieting your mind: First, notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise. Then, let them go by returning your attention to your breath. Those other feelings will all be waiting for you once you’re done!

For best results, set aside 10 minutes of uninterrupted time in a quiet space every day to practice mindfulness. Just after you wake up is a good time since your mind is probably quiet already. Or practice before bedtime and see if it helps you sleep better. Find a time that works for you and stay with it every day for one week to get started. As the days pass, notice how this practice affects your day. Many people report feeling a sense of inner calm and relaxation with regular practice. If you find it works well for you, continue at least once a day or more often if you feel the need.

New to mindfulness? Visit the HPRC Blog for some helpful tips to get started. Make sure to try our 5-minute guided meditation to experiencing mindfulness too. Note: Mindfulness meditation is not a replacement for medical treatment or advice.