Today we are going to discuss mindfulness meditation. With regular practice, both mindfulness and meditation can have various benefits. I, myself, have recently started regular meditation, and will record how it has benefited me at later date.
Let me define both mindfulness and meditation for you. You ready?
According to the dictionary (at least the one online) mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
I know you didn’t ask for that information, but I felt it necessary to let you know exactly what I’m talking about. Now I will move on to what you really want to know. Why you should consider adding mindful meditation into your everyday life.
As I’ve said in the past, there are many mental and physical benefits to this skill. I call it a skill because it is a great addition to your toolbelt. Also it’s a technique that is simple, and will have lasting effects.
Let’s start with some physical benefits. From the research I’ve done, I’ve noticed three important factors. Both mindfulness and meditation help to decrease blood pressure as well improve your heart rate. Basically they lead to a healthy heart. Also science has proved that meditation helps increase immune system function. It increases immune cell count, helps with cell aging, as well as antibody response.
The other main benefit is pain management. Studies have shown that by activating and reinforcing certain areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation has had an overall effect on helping to reduce pain intensity. Meditation helps to reduce stress, which leads to reduced pain.
The main reason I started using mindful meditation is that it is proven to reduce anxiety levels as well as decrease depression. I personally have major depression and a panic disorder. So this seemed to be right up my ally. I’ve tried meditation before, but am currently working on doing it with more frequency.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been known to increase cognition, reduce distraction, and boost working memory and focus. It has proven to enhance mental health and functioning. If these obvious advantages aren’t enough to get me started, I don’t know what would. All in all, you will experience a decrease in burn out and improved general health.
Down below is a list of other advantages to mindful meditation:
-Higher brain function
-Increased attention and focus
-Clarity in thinking and perception
-Decrease in stress
-Increased ability to deal with illness
-Improved body satisfaction
-An increase in empathy and compassion
-Banishment of temporary negative feelings
You will have an experience of being calm and internally still, as well as feeling more connected.
Another plus, mindfulness meditation is not hard at all. You might ask “well what if my mind wanders?”. That’s fine! Just bring your attention to your thoughts, care for it, and move on. Mindfulness is all about staying in the present moment, bringing yourself back into your body. Stop for a moment, take about 3 deep breaths in and out, tell yourself something along the lines of “Hello moment, I am here”. Or use your own mantra. When you stay in the moment, you will be more at ease and more relaxed.
Here’s a few footnotes before you start your meditation:
-Figure out a time. It can be as short as ten minutes
-Make yourself comfortable. You can either sit or lie down.
-Create your space. It’s preferable to find a quiet place to meditate. Also, many like to play soft music as well
Now to start the actual meditation is very simple. Get comfortable in your space, close your eyes, become aware of your breathing (just your normal breath). Now take several deep breaths in and out. The next step is to become aware of your body. Start at the top of your head, and slowly go down to your feet. Then take a moment to be aware of your body as a whole. After this would be a great time to mentally repeat a mantra(if you choose to. It’s not a must). It can be anything. Even just “I am here” or “I am enough”. My personal heart mantra is “I am willing to change and grow”. Take these moments in, take a few more deep breaths, and smile. No seriously. The best meditation to do, is just smile. Thich nhat Hanh does this every morning as his morning meditation. Now slowly bring yourself back. Wiggle your toes and fingers, slowly open your eyes, and bring yourself out of the meditation with a smile on your face.
Congrats! You just did your first meditation! Even just taking ten minutes a day to meditate will do wonders. Add this into your mental and physical health regime, and you will notice the benefits right away.
Thank you so much for being here, and learning about mindfulness meditation.
As always, Until next time, Namaste.