What does mindfulness mean?

The term mindfulness is often used in connection with meditation, relaxation and mental health. But what does “being mindful” actually mean and what does being mindful do for me? Here we explain how you can learn mindfulness and why it can improve your well-being and sleep.

Table of Contents

  1. What is mindfulness?
  2. What is the use of mindfulness?
  3. Can you learn mindfulness?
    1. Mindfulness exercises for everyday life
  4. What does mindfulness have to do with sleep?
  5. Conclusion

1. What is mindfulness?

Our thoughts are often still stuck in the past or we are already thinking about the future. However, mindfulness means consciously perceiving the here and now with all your senses without judging. It's about adopting an attentive attitude towards ourselves, but also towards our environment, and accepting everything as it is without directly reflecting.

The concept of mindfulness originally comes from Buddhism, where it has been cultivated as a basic attitude for meditation for a long time. Looking attentively into the here and now is an important prerequisite for being concentrated during meditation. Today, mindfulness is an important concept that supports mental health.

2. What is the use of mindfulness?

Being mindful of yourself and your environment has numerous positive effects on your body and soul. It helps you focus on your inner self and feel better physically and mentally. This way you can distance yourself from the stressful outside and find inner peace.

Mindfulness has been proven to have a positive effect on stress levels, mental health and the immune system. It slows you down and helps to reduce stress and strengthen self-confidence and inner peace. Various studies show that a mindful lifestyle can reduce stress levels by up to 25% in the long term. Mindfulness exercises can also help with mental stress or mental illnesses such as depression, burnout or anxiety disorders, as they relieve tension or agitation while promoting relaxation and balance.

Going through life more mindfully not only improves general well-being, it also increases satisfaction in life and ensures that we are happier, more balanced and more stress-resistant overall.

3. Can you learn mindfulness?

We can all learn to be more careful with ourselves and our environment. Mindfulness training is a wonderfully simple method of finding inner peace again with comparatively little effort.

The most famous method of mindfulness training is the so-called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It is a program lasting several weeks that has been scientifically evaluated and slowly introduces practitioners to mindfulness work.

However, you can also start on your own by gradually integrating simple mindfulness exercises into your everyday life. At work, at home, on the train, or wherever we are, we can take a few minutes to do a little exercise. In this way, we can sustainably improve our self-awareness and will notice that over time we go through life more mindfully and attentively, even without thinking. For starters, it may be easier to do short exercises throughout the day rather than longer meditations or yoga practices.

A conscious walk in nature, observation exercises or breathing training - there are numerous ways to improve mindfulness. We'll show you four simple but practical mindfulness exercises that are perfect for your everyday life.

Schlafmagazin: Achtsamkeit lernen mit Atemübungen, Still Sitzen und anderen Methoden

#1 Conscious breathing / breathing meditation

A short breathing meditation can be incorporated into your everyday life at any time and anywhere. Our breathing can be influenced in a targeted manner and is strongly linked to the nervous system.

Here's how to do it: Breathe out three times to release tense energy. Direct your attention to your inner self and try to focus on natural breathing. Notice how the breath comes and goes, how the air flows in and out through the nose and concentrate on taking calm, deep breaths. Stay with yourself for a few minutes with this focus and then slowly open yourself back up to the impressions and feelings of your surroundings.

Here you can find more breathing exercises that have a relaxing effect and support sleep.

#2 Sitting quietly

Sitting still sounds easier than it is. We often distract ourselves from really being in the here and now through observations, thoughts, smartphones or television.

Here's how to do it: Sit upright in a quiet place, keep your eyes open and look straight ahead. Try to be aware of your breathing. Direct your attention inward and try to let all your thoughts pass like clouds in the sky without judging them as good or bad. If you want, you can also say the thoughts and feelings that arise out loud before they move on.

#3 Body Scan

The body scan is a mindfulness exercise with which you can learn to better perceive and feel your physical and internal state. You gradually direct your attention to different parts of your body and adopt a neutral or positive attitude towards your thoughts, sensations and feelings.

Schlafmagazin: Bodyscan, Körperreise im Liegen für mehr Achtsamkeit im Alltag

Here's how it works: Sit or lie down comfortably, concentrate on your inner self and mentally wander through your body from head to toe. Notice everything you feel and sense. Plan on about 10-15 minutes for a short body scan and 30-45 minutes for a detailed body scan.

#4 Walking Meditation

Mindful walking can be integrated into even the smallest walk.

Here's how it works: You start running very slowly and relaxed, preferably without a fixed goal, and concentrate intensively on the feeling of walking. Make sure you have a firm footing at the beginning and then feel into every step. Pay close attention to the push-off, landing and rolling of your foot.

4. What does mindfulness have to do with sleep?

The relaxation of body and mind is one of the most important prerequisites for a restful sleep. If we are often under stress or lose ourselves in everyday life during the day, mindfulness can be a great way to help us regain calm and relaxation on a physical and mental level, which allows for a restful sleep.

Stress, lack of relaxation and mental stress are very serious sleep killers that definitely stand in the way of healthy sleep. However, if we are more mindful, we can more easily shake off our worries and everyday stress and prepare for a peaceful night in the evening.

Morning meditation

Schlafmagazin: Achtsamkeit durch Meditation am Morgen nach dem Aufstehen

A little meditation helps with a positive start to the day and fits perfectly into any morning routine. When you get up, just take a moment to visualize a calm day. Take a deep breath and think of everything positive that the coming day will bring you. What are you looking forward to today? What good things can happen? Positive affirmations and dream images such as sun rays, flowing water or blooming flowers, which represent energy and the flow of life, can also make you feel good in the morning. So just give yourself a smile and start your mindful life today.

5. Conclusion

  • Mindfulness means perceiving the here and now consciously and with all your senses without judging anything.
  • Mindfulness training reduces stress, promotes well-being and sleep
  • Simple mindfulness exercises such as breathing or walking meditations, sitting quietly or body scans help to become more mindful and can be easily incorporated into everyday life.

Greetings and see you soon!

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