Multi-tasking is common in our fast moving world. We text while we\’re eating dinner and having a conversation with our spouse. We check our e-mails while we file our nails and talk on the phone. The trouble is, we are probably not being as productive as we\’d wish. We are probably sacrificing the quality of the work we are doing at each task. We are distracted and maybe even distraught.

Did you ever think it was time to take a breath and just concentrate on one thing at a time?

Mindfulness meditation has been helping people do just that, and there\’s a reason this practice has endured since Buddha in fifth-century B.C. While there are many different ways to meditate, mindfulness specifically refers to meditation that helps us be present in the moment, aware of ourselves and accepting of ourselves without judgment. Mindfulness meditation\’s goal is NOT to change who we are, but to become aware of how we experience life as it is.

When we are mindful, we do not rush through our lives completing task after task, wishing things could be different. Rather, we show up for our own lives. Instead of avoiding unpleasantness, we practice being able to be with our own difficult experiences. We do not fight against them, but we are mindful of them. We are also mindful of positive emotions—happiness is accepted in the moment at face value. It is not spoiled by worrying that it won\’t last or by waiting for the other shoe to drop.

If this all sounds a bit difficult to grasp, remember that it takes time to achieve but the rewards are many. Here are a few:

1) We get to know our true selves with a certain amount of objectivity. So we can better address our flaws and see ourselves as we really are, and advance and evolve as a human being.
2) We reduce our stress in measurable ways. That means we not only feel less stressed, but levels of the stress hormone cortisol may be reduced as a result.
3) We are able to concentrate better, and have more control over processing pain and emotions. It\’s possible we may even change the way our brain works to benefit from mindfulness even when we are not actively practicing it.

Next week I\’ll talk more about how you can practice and reap the rewards of mindfulness meditation.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: