Mindfulness Meditation Tips
With the amount of stress that we experience every day in our lives, with our busy schedules, financial stresses and overall world events that can increase our anxiety, it is most important to try to relax our bodies and calm our minds. Along with yoga, tai chi, mindfulness meditation has become a very popular wellness routine that individuals are embracing.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and trying not to overreact or get overwhelmed by what is going on around us. Trying to bring awareness to what we are directly experiencing regarding our senses, being in touch with our thoughts and emotions, helps us be mindful. When we train our brain to be mindful, we can change the physical structure of our brain. Doing mindfulness can be like a fitness routine for the brain and helps us to live life in the moment.
The goal is to identify what can bring greater peace of mind into our lives. Mindfulness can also be used in therapies to address anxiety, pain, stress, and help us to become more relaxed. Meditation sessions or smaller moments throughout the day, can be used to cultivate a state of mindfulness, which we can begin by sitting down and taking deep breaths. Focus on each breath and the sensations experiencing, such as the sounds, scents, and the temperature where we are, at that moment. Shifting attention, then, to the thoughts and emotions that we are experiencing may evoke a strong emotional reaction which can maybe be an opportunity to address or resolve underlying challenging emotions we are facing.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
Meditation has been studied in many research trials, and the overall evidence supports the effectiveness of meditation for various conditions, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
In addition, preliminary research indicates that meditation can also help people with asthma and fibromyalgia. Meditation can help people who experience thoughts and emotions with greater balance and acceptance. Meditation also has been shown to improve attention, decrease job burnout, improve sleep, and improve diabetes control.
There are many simple ways to practice mindfulness. Simple mindfulness exercises can be practiced at anytime and anywhere. Many people may get an added benefit with practicing mindfulness techniques outside in nature. Some examples include:
- Pay attention - Try to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses, including touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. For example, when you eat a favorite food, take the time to smell, taste and truly enjoy it.
- Live in the moment - Find joy in simple pleasures.
- Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
- Focus on your breathing. When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help.
Sources: Psychology Today; The Harvard Gazette; Mayo Clinic