For the media

Using mindfulness to escape daily stress

By Robert McClure | April 3, 2023
Happy woman smelling flowers

How often do you daydream about “beaming yourself up” — Star Trek-style — away from your stressful day? Whether it’s to travel to your favorite place on the beach or a quiet spot in your garden, most of us have moments when we’d like to be somewhere outside our sometimes stressful, everyday life.

Unfortunately, we can’t always physically beam away to escape our stress. But we can find an escape of sorts by training our minds.

First, however, we must train our wandering thoughts with mindfulness skills. What we pay attention to can determine how we experience life — it is very important to choose wisely!

Understanding mindfulness

Unfortunately, it is not so easy to simply be mindful. Your attention naturally wanders with distractions and can be overwhelmed by “noise,” such as social media and the busyness of the day.

Additionally, the brain has a “negativity bias,” often focusing on our worries and potential bad experiences, some of which may not be based in reality. Mark Twain expressed it this way: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.”

But what is mindfulness and how do you practice it? Mindfulness is three skills working together:

  • Concentration

    — Choosing where to pay attention

  • Clarity

    — Tracking attention and noticing details

  • Equanimity balance

    — Allowing your sensory experience to come and go freely without resisting

Putting mindfulness into action

Focus your attention for a couple of minutes on an object near you (concentration), note the details (clarity), allow what you are hearing and feeling to freely come and go in the background (equanimity), and keep your focus on what you see. When the attention wanders, return it to the object over and over again.

Scientists call this a “bicep curl for the brain.” Distraction does to our brains what gravity does to our muscles — we must strengthen both with exercise.

If you wanted to learn how to cook, play tennis or piano, you would have to get instruction and practice, practice, practice! Developing your mindfulness skills to free yourself of stress also requires you to learn and practice.

There are many resources, websites and apps you can turn to for guidance. At Sharp, I teach Unified Mindfulness, which is a science-based, comprehensive approach for teaching and learning mindfulness. Check out the free online program to start training your brain to be mindful.

Learn more about self-care; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.


Robert McClure


Robert McClure is a certified mindfulness facilitator with Sharp HealthCare.

You might also like:

Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.