Life is a roller coaster of happy and sad events, and everyone receives their share of such moments at some point. Navigating through life adversities can be emotionally overwhelming, especially if you do not have a proper support system. Since such situations are inevitable, there's a need for adequate preparedness and the right mindset to handle issues that come our way.
Mindfulness meditation is a simple skill that can bring sanity, happiness, and clarity amid difficult situations. This article offers powerful yet simple tips to help you experience great joy, gratitude, and acceptance.
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What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that trains the mind to slow down and focus on the present, acknowledge and accept feelings and thoughts with a judgment-free mindset. Mindfulness meditation combines meditation and the concepts of mindfulness. Being mindful helps you remain connected with the present moment's feelings and remain calm in stressful situations. On the other hand, meditation helps explore different sensations and the working of your mind.
How To Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a simple practice to train yourself anytime and anywhere. However, people battling specific health and psychological conditions may need a qualified teacher to help them get started. There are various meditation techniques whose ultimate goal is to achieve a state of alertness, focus, and relaxation while paying attention to your thoughts with a judgment-free mindset. So, how do you get started with mindfulness meditation?
Find a Comfortable Place
To start mindfulness meditation, you need to settle in a quiet and comfortable place. It can either be on a chair or the floor. Be sure to sit upright but in a comfortable position such that you don't strain your neck, head and back. Also, the place should be free of noise and any other thing that may distract you. If need be, remove your shoes and loosen your clothes for utmost comfort.
Use a Timer
Although it might not be necessary, a timer can help you focus and maintain uninterrupted attention on meditation. Also, since the mind tends to wander, you may get lost in the past or present thoughts if you meditate for long periods. For a start, consider meditating for a shorter time; it will be more effective because you can focus on the present without losing track of time.
Pay Attention to Breathing
Close your eyes and take a relaxing deep breath. Pay attention to every movement as you breathe, such as the rising and falling of your chest, the contractions of the belly, and the warmth of the air that leaves your nostrils. Focusing on your breathing while taking note of every exhalation and inhalation will help you stay in the present as you meditate. Ensure your mind is in tune with your breathing as you let your breathing flow naturally.
Take Note of Your Thoughts
Thoughts are mental events, sensations, and perspectives that reflect every aspect of experiences. During meditation, these events can flood your mind and drift your attention. Thoughts will also pull your focus on breathing as your mind roams over events and experiences of the past.
It is important to notice these thoughts because they are part of your reality. Acknowledge the thoughts without passing judgment and remain calm as you slowly bring your mind back to the moment. It is something you will need to do repeatedly because your mind will wander more often in the beginning.
Take a Break
When you notice that your mind keeps wandering and drowning in thoughts, it is important to be kind to yourself and take a break. Allow yourself time to calm your thoughts as you find a way to gently bring back your wandering mind.
Being hard on yourself and judging your thoughts will only increase the anxiety, fear, and hopelessness you are experiencing at the moment. Rather than wrestling and suppressing your thoughts, you can give yourself a break and come back to your breath when ready.
Download an App
Although practicing mindfulness meditation is easy and you can learn it independently, some people have trouble getting started. The good thing is, technology has made things easy and manageable. By downloading a meditation application, you can access practical tips and tutorials to help you get started. Most applications are free, easy to use, and give you access to the tools you need to stay focused, combat stress and anxiety, sleep better, improve your relationships and build confidence.
Make It a Habit
To get the benefits of mindfulness meditation, you need to practice it as often as possible until it becomes part of your routine. This way, you will find it easy to meditate anytime and anywhere. You will also live a stress-free life because you have mastered a way to cope and react to the most challenging issues in life at any given time. People who practice mindfulness meditation have no problem handling challenging situations.
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What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation?
Practicing mindfulness meditation can significantly transform your physical, emotional, and mental state. Researchers associate mindfulness meditation with improved metacognitive awareness, enhanced attention capacities, and effective emotion-regulation strategies. Although, when you meditate, you do not have to fix your mind on the benefits. Focusing on the practice and maintaining the discipline in meditating will guarantee you the following benefits.
Stress is a significant cause of a lot of mental illnesses and disorders. In fact, many psychotherapists are turning to mindfulness meditation as part of a treatment option for people suffering from stress disorders, depression, substance abuse, and anxiety attacks. Research shows that Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can significantly reduce relapse rates in people who had previous episodes of major depression.
According to Sleep Foundation, practicing mindfulness meditation may help treat insomnia and improve sleep quality for people with sleep issues. The techniques and practices involved in mindfulness meditation help bring about a relaxed state and take off pressure from the mind, creating favorable conditions to falling asleep.
Slows Heart Rate
Heart disease has become more prevalent in the US. Mindfulness meditation alleviates the risks of developing heart disease, among other treatment options. Patients with the condition report tremendous improvement after practicing mindfulness meditation techniques consistently.
When you meditate, you lower the production of cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline, which accelerate heart rates and blood pressure, eventually causing heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.
Improves General Well-Being
Mindfulness meditation significantly contributes to living a joyful and fulfilled life. Being mindful helps you focus on life with gratitude and positivity, savoring each moment and making the most of each occurrence.
Mindfulness helps you cope with life's challenges by maintaining a calm demeanor and a positive outlook in every situation. Because your mind is occupied with the present, you can connect well with people, build healthy relationships, make the right decisions and engage in activities that make you happy.
Thinking about the same thoughts repeatedly can be harmful to your mental health. Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination. When you practice mindfulness, you shift your attention to the present experiences and occurrences.
This helps stop ruminating and focus on helpful behaviors such as kindness, acceptance, and empathy. These powerful qualities give you a positive perspective of your personality and overcome the negative self-evaluations that rumination tends to breed.
Mindfulness meditation requires a deliberate effort to make it work. Although starting may be challenging, the benefits are worthwhile. If you struggle with mental and physical health, you may consider mindfulness meditation as a treatment option.