UC Irvine Expert Shares Advice On Mindfulness

Jessica Drew de Paz is the director of mindfulness services at the UC Irvine Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, which offers a range of classes.
Photograph courtesy of UC Irvine

Why mindfulness matters …
When we’re not taught to pay attention, our mind and thoughts take over—and our thoughts are not always in this present moment. It just takes checking in with yourself and noticing what you’re thinking about.

Being in the moment …
One of the ways to come back into the moment is through our senses. You can start with sight. Look around the space you’re in, but look at it as if you’re seeing it for the first time and without judgment. Shift your attention to your hearing, and you might notice sounds or you may notice the silence. Then you can shift your attention to your body; wherever you’re sitting, you might notice the points of contact that your body is making with your seat. The final thing is (to bring) attention to the breath.

Mindfulness benefits …
There’s research showing that it helps combat depression and anxiety, and there are changes that happen in our body when we practice this—decreased cortisol levels and an increased immune response to vaccinations. Even 10 minutes a day can be helpful. It doesn’t have to be like an hourlong workout class.

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