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Mindfulness Practice: Love Your Body & Get in Touch with Your Emotions

Mindfulness benefits our entire well-being—mind and body alike. Discover how regular mindfulness practice can help you befriend your body and emotions.

| January 2016

  • Set up a daily practice that focuses on breath awareness, posture and more to change how you perceive your body and emotions.
    Photo by Fotolia/Ammentorp
  • Learn how to establish a basic mindfulness practice with help from “8 Keys to Practicing Mindfulness” by Manuela Mischke Reeds.
    Cover courtesy W.W. Norton & Company

Every moment can become an opportunity to practice mindfulness. 8 Keys to Practicing Mindfulness (W.W. Norton & Company, 2015), by Manuela Mischke Reeds, invites you to sharpen your awareness and ask yourself with more frequency, “What do I notice right now?” or “How do I need to respond to this situation?” The following excerpt includes selections from several chapters, and will introduce you to the first steps to loving your body and emotions.

You can realize mindfulness in a single moment—while in the middle of cooking dinner, walking your dog, tucking your kids into bed, or sitting in a business meeting. Suddenly you notice your breath or your posture, how you are feeling, the tone in your voice, the expression of a child or colleague. You watch yourself noticing. The experience is fresh and new even though you have been there many times before. This awareness fundamentally changes your experience.

Many mindfulness teachers have said, “Start where you are.” This is an important teaching, because when you start where you are, you are already becoming mindful by making peace with yourself in this moment. This is the first big hurdle. It’s not about achieving anything, going anywhere, doing anything special, or setting up the right circumstances, but rather realizing that whatever you are dealing with can be observed. You can literally start anywhere, at any time.

Mindfulness experiences can be brief or extended, and respecting your own pace is crucial. This will enable you to take what you’re doing seriously and reap the benefits. Allow yourself to start where you are and find your own way with the stories, explanations, reflections, and exercises. If you feel challenged, that’s a good sign: It means the exercises are working and you are encountering new terrain. Only by exploring uncharted territory will you gain new insights.

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