In Mindfulness Meditation , you focus on living the moment, practice breathing to calm down your mind, body, and being mindful of everything around you. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to be aware of the present and quieten our overactive mind in constant analysis and judgment.
The question is, what is Mindfulness? and how to achieve it?
Most of the time, while we are doing some work with our hands, our mind takes a ride to some other thoughts, and the obsessive collection of happenings makes us anxious about the future. Such practices often take away all our peace and happiness. That is why experts recommend following Meditation for Mindfulness. With this practice, human beings use their natural ability to be physically and mentally present at one point and get fully involved in whatever they are doing; without being affected by what is happening around them. However, this state is not that easy to achieve; only meditation can help you reach that point.
If you are beginner on the path to meditation we would first suggest you to read on the definition of meditation and then try the different meditation types to find which one is suitable for you to begin with.
Find a comfortable position and try this short Mindfulness Meditation
It’s so easy to be so stuck in the merry-go-round of life. There’s always so much to do, so much that has happened, and the many things we wish for in life. So, we often get caught up in the ever-changing pattern of swirling thoughts that it becomes difficult to have our minds back. Mindfulness meditation can help.
Do you want to make mindfulness meditation a part of your life but don’t know where to start? Are you confused about the different mindfulness techniques and what they can do for you? Here’s a guide on our to make mindfulness practice a part of your life.
Our mind is always overactive with opinion almost about everything. Mindfulness is pressing the pause button on our thoughts for a while.
On the surface, Mindfulness looks like a trivial practice. Sure, we have so much to do; there’s a saying that if we don’t have enough hours in a day to complete all that we set out to achieve. But, being caught in the chaos of life can make us anxious. Before long, we get plagued with chronic stress, which increases the risks of stroke, heart disease, and many other ailments.
With Mindfulness, you can learn the art of paying attention to the present. Mindfulness provides a ‘place’ where you can rest and settle your mind.
Mindfulness Meditation Benefits
Mindfulness Meditation has its roots in Buddhism but with many tremendous benefits that go beyond the religious. When you practice Mindfulness, you shift your thoughts away from the usual to appreciating life from a larger perspective.
Therefore, it increases your ability to support many attitudes that contribute to a fulfilling life. Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures of life. It improves your focus and well being. When we are mindful, we learn to cope with stress better. In truth, many types of Mindfulness can help improve conditions of stress-related problems such as fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also help reduce anxiety, negative thoughts, depression and can help boost self-awareness.
On the physical scene, it can reduce chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and boost sleep. Mindfulness can also boost your performance and your mental health. It can also impact your relationships by helping you gain more positive emotions, leading to a greater understanding of others and improved interpersonal interactions.
Does Mindfulness Change the Brain?
Absolutely, but in a positive way. Scientists have used MRI scans to observe how consistent mindfulness meditation affects the brain. They observed that Mindfulness affects many areas of the brain responsible for specific practices. For instance, they found that the grey matter in the brain’s amygdala became smaller. The amygdala plays a significant role in stress. So by shrinking the grey matter, Mindfulness alleviates stress.
Mindfulness meditation also affects the pre-frontal cortex, which is the brain region known for problem-solving, controlling emotions, and planning. In this area, practicing Mindfulness increased the grey matter for such reasons, which means many fascinating benefits when performing such a function. Mindfulness equally increases the grey matter in the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory. There are many other areas of the brain that mindfulness practice can change for the better. So, there’s no reason you should sit on the fence about practicing it.
In general Mindfulness Meditation involves focusing on breathing which helps to calm the body, mind, and become aware of the present only.
What are the Techniques for Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation can be tricky to start initially. However, you are free to start on your own with no special equipment. However, getting a dedicated app like Zen Lounge will better guide your practice. The app will provide the necessary ambience, thereby helping you to cut off the noise for perfect Mindfulness. In no time, you can begin exploring the different mindfulness meditation practices. Each has its strengths, beliefs, and you can tailor it to suit your goal. You can also benefit from joining a group, although this might be challenging if you have tight schedules. An app is always the best way to make sure you can practice at any time.
Do note that any meditation practice is not a therapy or a cure for any medical condition. You might want to follow a medically oriented mindfulness program if you have a medical condition, but it isn’t always necessary. Nonetheless, it is still diligent to speak to your physician first to make sure you are on the right path. Nevertheless, you must realize that all mindfulness techniques are just a form of meditation. Here are some types of meditation practice:
- Body-scan meditation – bringing awareness and focus on different regions of your body, experiencing the sensations without changing or reacting to anything
- Basic mindfulness meditation – focus on natural breathing. It may sometimes involve a mantra, which you repeat silently and watch as thoughts come and go in your mind without judging.
- Sensory – observing sounds, smells, tastes, sights, touches without reacting, or judging.
- Urge surfing – observing your cravings for substances or cravings to behave in a certain way and then allowing them to pass without judgment.
- Emotions – focusing on your emotions in the present and taking on a steady and relaxed naming of your emotions while accepting them without judgment.
- Other kinds include regular bodywork (rolfing, massage, etc.), walking meditation, or sitting meditation. You can also merge meditation with other activities such as yoga, martial arts, tai chi, etc.
How To Practice Mindfulness – Getting Started On Your Own
As said earlier, there are many ways to practice mindfulness meditation. Some meditation practices involve concentration, such as focusing on your breath, allowing a parade of thoughts to come and go, or even repeating a phrase. Concentration meditation techniques might sometimes involve yoga or tai chi, which can also help boost relaxation. However, let’s talk about the most basic way to begin mindfulness meditation.
Step 1 – Choose A Location
Although it isn’t always possible to do away with distractions, it’s essential to reduce it. Choose a location that can afford you that luxury. It can be a quiet part of your home, your office, the park, etc. This place should be a space that makes it easier to detach from the daily hum of life. If you are considering creating a dedicated space, you can also add a few things to set the ambiance. For instance, soften the light by using a candle, add beautiful pictures of flowers, etc.
Step 2 – Become Comfortable
Your meditation may require that you stay in one place for several minutes. Therefore you must remain comfortable. Consider wearing loose clothes that will not distract or bother you. You can also add a blanket around you or nearby because your body temperature might drop as you get into the mood.
Step 3 – Make Time
Consider having a fixed time in your day for your meditation. However, if you are starting, consider setting up for 5 minutes and slowly working your way to 20, 30, or even an hour. Don’t start meditating for a long time because it might become overwhelming and counterproductive. We also recommend that you set a timer, one with soft piano music or soothing sounds. You don’t need one that sounds like a buzzer or jarring alarm. Zen Lounge meditation app can also make things easier on this end.
Step 4 – Find Your Favorite Posture
Most people believe that meditation must occur in a lotus position, but the truth is that your position must be comfortable for you. You can stand, sit, walk, lie down, etc. If you prefer laying down, ensure you don’t fall asleep. It is common to float off to dreamland in that position.
Sitting is, of course, the most comfortable. However, make sure your seat is stable and comfortable, not hanging or perching. Pay attention to your legs. If you are on a chair, ensure your feet are firm to the ground. If you decide to use the lotus position, find the most comfortable way to cross your legs in front of you. Also, ensure that your spine is straight and your upper arms parallel to your upper body. You can let your hands drop on the top of your legs, but they will do that on their own once your upper body is in the right spot. To ensure you are not hunching or too far back (into a stiff position). Comfort is essential here.
Step 5 – Settle Down
Now it’s time to settle in and begin to detach yourself from the events around you. You can gently lower your gaze and if you feel the need, close your eyes. However, some people don’t feel comfortable with their eyes closed, so that you may lower your eyelids. If you’ve had a stressful day, you may also find it challenging settling. Often you might begin thinking about what happened during the day; start there. Observe how those emotions stir in you. Notice how your mind dances and let it dance a bit until you settle it. Just relax and go with the flow of your body. You might also begin identifying the feelings you have, but you must do so without judging. Make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Step 6 – Take some deep breaths.
Bring your awareness to your breath. Notice the inhalations and exhalations. Feel how each breath flows in and out of your body, filling your lungs, going through your throats, and to your stomach. Take deeper breaths and continue the process. You can also choose your focal point. Focus on each breath, or the sensation of the air moving through your mouth or nose, the rising and falling of your chest or belly.
Step 7 – Be non-judgmental
Keep focusing on your breath, but be non-judgmental if the little sounds around begin to seem more distracting. As you get calmer, you might also become aware of your surroundings, not just your body. You might even notice how your body feels or reacts to those little effects of the environment. Observe your emotions and thoughts. Pause for the moment and then gently come back to rest on your breath. The challenge isn’t to latch on to one sensation, emotion, or get stuck thinking about the past or future. It’s more about watching what comes and goes in your mind and then extending to your entire body.
Step 9 – Practice
You might find it hard at the beginning, but it will get better soon. Whenever you miss your intended session or find yourself wandering off, start again. This wandering is of the mind is normal when you’ve had a stressful day, especially one with lots of negative energy. The key is to accept yourself, your emotions, and everything else. Being in the present has no space for judging.
Find a comfortable position and try this Mindfulness Guidance for 20 Minutes
Mindfulness does not end with Meditation. We have to be Mindful all the time in whatever we do and enjoy every action, every moment.
Mindfulness in Daily Life
You can practice Mindfulness anywhere and do just about anything. You can be mindful when brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, hanging out with friends, exercising, and lots more.
Remember that it is really about being in the heart and now, no matter where you are. Focus on enjoying the sensations as they affect your body. For instance, if you are walking, you can focus on how one foot goes before the other, then the air hitting your face, how your feet feel against the floor, the sounds around you.
How Quickly Does Mindfulness Work?
The general complaint we often find is this – why isn’t Mindfulness working for me? I feel too stressed, so Mindfulness isn’t working? Why isn’t it as easy as I thought?
So, before getting started on this fantastic journey, you need to have the right expectations. Mindfulness is not a pill that you swallow and begin seeing results immediately. Our minds are often deeply rooted in assessing information and forming opinions quickly – which is good, especially in unsafe conditions.
However, when you begin, you might have some difficulties practicing right. You must always bear in mind that you cannot rely on your expectations to start seeing results. Else you get frustrated early on. Mindfulness meditation requires consistency, patience, and an open heart.
Stop waiting for the results, and enjoy the process. Mindfulness meditation requires a very delicate approach. For instance, you mustn’t forcefully push your mind into the present; else, it becomes a constant struggle against the odds. So, go with the flow, and the benefits will happen more quickly than you realize.
On average, most people talk about reaping its benefits after eight weeks, while others were shorter or longer. The bottom line focus on the process and the results will follow when it should.
How Does Mindfulness Feel?
The experience of Mindfulness is different for everyone. Some people will begin to feel a great sense of peace when they meditate. Others will struggle with one pull of distraction after another, which can be frustrating. Although that feeling of absolute peace is the goal, it doesn’t start that way. So, even when struggling with distraction, you can be mindful. Mindfulness can also connect those moments of stress, despair, peace, and joy. So how do you know when you have begun to enjoy Mindfulness? Here’s a typical scenario to look out for. Do note that it can be a bit different for everyone:
“You take a breath and notice that nervous feeling in your stomach, alongside your heartbeat. Without judging yourself, you see things from your head to all corners of your body. You begin to notice how these things feel, but without needing them to go away. You also are not worried about what they mean. Even when your thoughts stray away, you become aware of it, dwelling on that awareness, without judgment, and then willfully bringing your mind back to the present. Before long, you notice a sense of calm. Even when that happens, you merely see that it does and then keep going.
Mindfulness Is Not All In Your Head
One of the most common misconceptions about Mindfulness is that it stops at the awareness of your mind, or perhaps the happenings in your brain. Mindfulness is not just hitting upon your thoughts. It is looking at your entire self from a holistic sense.
True mindfulness meditation begins and ends in the body. It is the state of being aware of our body, where we are, and what’s going on around our body. This very act can seem as though you are floating, but it is, in essence, calming.
Mindfulness meditation is a fascinating practice that has too many benefits. The act of being in the here and now can be very revitalizing. You can watch as it helps you pay attention to the things we often take for granted.
When practiced daily, you can begin to enjoy a more fulfilling life. That’s it. Go ahead and start practicing. In no time, you will start to see the immense benefits of mindfulness meditation.