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Mindfulness could easily be the buzzword of the decade. One can barely talk about their health and wellness without talking about mindfulness. Stress? Practice mindful meditation. Digestive problems? Practice mindful eating. Tension and conflict in your relationships? Just be more mindful.

The wide praise for the practice of mindfulness is not unfounded. In fact, a plentitude of scientific research has been devoted to evaluating mindfulness and how it operates in the brain as well as the body. Today, popular phone apps like Headspace have over 400,000 people in use. Mindfulness applications have customized meditations to meet the every nuance of every day from waking up to going to sleep, commuting to work to preparing for an interview, celebrating a victory and processing a loss. Spending many minutes a day in mindful meditation has a purpose: to bring you into the present moment.

Becoming present with your thoughts, feelings, and environment reduces stress. The brain and the nervous system are affected by the stressful situations we endure everyday. If we have had a trauma in our lives, our stress reactivity levels are higher than normal. Living with trauma can feel like living in a state that is constantly full of mind as opposed to being mindful. Our thoughts are reactive instead of responsive. Trauma can take us into the worst realm of thinking in place of the past distant from the future. Repeatedly activating our fight or flight system with thoughts of trauma, we put increasing amounts of stress on our bodies.

Science has found that mindfulness meditation reduces stress to a molecular level. When “we” are stressed in our idea of the self, our brain and our body becomes stressed. We experience inflammation, which can contribute to a wealth of health problems,

Mindfulness can be practiced everyday, with or without an app like Headspace. Awareness, noticing, and paying attention are the core components of mindfulness we incorporate into our daily activities. In doing so, we become more aware of ourselves and the world around us. Noticing what we have never noticed before, we start to pay attention to the world in a whole new way than we ever have before. As a result, we are more relaxed, more focused, more present, more aware- more mindful.