Mindfulness sounds like a weird, abstract concept that requires a yoga mat and metronome. It is, however, something you're probably already doing.

You know that feeling when you're drifting off to sleep and you're trying to clear your head? What about when you're in the middle of a hike and you take a moment to rest and enjoy the silence? These are both examples of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

The best way to describe it is turning off your external stimuli and turning your focus on your breathing, your heartbeat, and how you're feeling in general. Mindfulness is something that anyone can learn, and it's actually very important to reboot your brain from time to time. It is said to help people feel more focused, less stressed, and even better at channeling their energy on complex tasks.

woman staring into the middle distance, at sunset

How do you practice mindfulness?

In the beginning, you may want to try guided meditation. A narrator will simply talk you through how to do a mindful meditation. You can try some of the free options on YouTube -- this is one of my favorites that combines the sound of waves and a soothing voice.

You can also check out UCLA's mindful awareness research center. Their videos for guided meditation are on YouTube, too—Here is a short one to help you concentrate on your breathing.

man standing peacefully with his eyes closed

Why should you try mindfulness?

Imagine what would happen if you never turned off your laptop -- how slow it would be, how quickly it would freeze up. The same concept applies to your brain. You simply can't be "on" all the time, thinking, worrying, planning, and stressing yourself out.

A while back, I told you about sensory deprivation floating. That's taking mindfulness to a whole other level. When you don't have the time to get away to a spa, you can shut out the world with a simple mindfulness session. 

woman sitting on a swing

Where can you practice mindfulness?

In a word, anywhere. It can be a time in the day when you simply shut everything off and just breathe. It can be the moments before an important interview when you close your eyes and try to calm yourself. Whether at home or at work, there is always time for a little introspection.

man sitting on a log

Regardless of the method you try, mindful meditation is something that can help if you're feeling a bit scattered. Some people even use it to try and get to sleep.

Do your own research and find something that works for you. The internet is full of great free resources like mindful.org or Mrs. Mindfulness. A friend of mine has a subscription to the Calm app and swears that it has changed her life. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Headspace app. It has a free trial that you never have to convert, and it can be set to give you little reminders to take a moment for yourself each day. You may find that taking a daily mindfulness break really helps.

**All photos in this article are courtesy of Pexels.

Do you practice mindful meditation or mini mindfulness sessions? What are some of your favorite free resources? Let us know in the comments below.