According to studies, eight out of ten Americans experience stress in their day to day life. They have a difficult time calming their minds and relaxing their bodies, making them susceptible to stroke, heart disease, and other illnesses. This is where mindfulness meditation becomes helpful, as it can help you focus on the present to allow you to recognize and accept your feelings, sensations, and thoughts without judgment. So, how to practice mindfulness meditation? Let’s find out in this article.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a training practice for the mind that teaches you to relax and slow down your thoughts, release all the negativity and calm down your mind and body. With this, you become fully aware of your thoughts and the present. You don’t need to extra preparation or props like essential oils, mantras, or candles to achieve mindfulness meditation. All you need is a quiet and comfortable place to relax, a few minutes of your time, and a free mindset.
3 Mindfulness Meditation Benefits
The founder and former head of the Stress Reduction Clinic from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn helped inculcate the practice of mindfulness meditation into medicine and how it improves physical and psychological symptoms and positive changes in behavior, health, and attitude. Here are the benefits you get to enjoy with mindfulness meditation:
1. Improvement in a person’s physical health
Scientists have discovered that mindfulness meditation can improve physical health by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, alleviating gastrointestinal problems, treating heart disease, and even reducing chronic pain.
2. Improvement in a person’s mental health
Psychotherapists have seen the promising effects of using mindfulness meditation as an element in their course of treatment for problems such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, depression, and even couples’ conflicts.
3.Improvement on a person’s well-being
Becoming more aware of your thoughts and the present help contribute to a more satisfying life. It makes it easier to enjoy the benefits of what life has to offer, become fully involved in activities, and deal with life’s uncertainty. By becoming more aware of the present, people tend to get caught up in regrets over the past and worry about the future. Plus, they are less likely to be preoccupied with worries about success and self-esteem, making them able to form deep connections with other people.
Mindfulness Meditation Exercises
The techniques of mindfulness meditation vary. But, in general, it involves the following techniques:
The best place to do mindfulness meditation is a quiet place that is not too bright nor too dark where you can relax. Be in a position where you feel the most comfortable either sitting on the floor or a chair. Then, close your eyes and relax.
Once you are relaxed, focus on your breathing. Feel how you inhale and exhale. Keep in mind that you are breathing because you are still alive. Do not make your breath short or long, and let it flow naturally.
Then, concentrate on your breathing. Try to focus on the air coming in and out of your nose. Be the breath that you inhale in and exhale out. Slowly, your breathing will slow down and become deep. It will also become more balanced and peaceful.
Forget what you have been doing or what you are supposed to do for the day. Try to think of something where you can feel relax like the beach perhaps or the cold wind brushing through your skin in the mountains. Feel it radiate towards you as you feel your breathing slows down and deepens.
3.Awareness Of Your Body
Now, be more aware of your body. Feel each cell and part of your body. With every inhalation, say that you are aware of your body. Then, connect your body with your mind. Revel in the wonders of being alive in your body.
4. Release The Tension
When you become fully aware of your body, release all the tension piling up in there. Feel all the tension that blocks your mind and body, and with each exhale, release those loads of tension. After all the blocks of tension are released from your mind and body, feel the lightness of your mind and body. When the lightness radiates throughout your body, feel the happiness in your soul. Then, with the positivity engulfing you, slowly open your eyes and enjoy the bliss.
Mindfulness Meditation Common Questions
Especially if you have just heard of it or if you are a newbie, there is probably a lot of questions boggling in your mind right now regarding mindfulness meditation like will it really work, how to be able to do it successfully, and so on. Here are the answers to a few questions you might have right now.
How Often Or Long Should I Practice Mindfulness Meditation?
The goal here is to make it a regular practice. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it every day. There are studies that have found out that practicing mindfulness meditation 3 to 4 times a week is already enough to enjoy the benefits it brings. Regularly doing it for 8 weeks or 2 months can also alter the brain, in a good way, as depicted by the neuroimaging studies.
For beginners, you can start with a 5-minute meditation session and can increase it to 10 to 15 minutes or until you become comfortable meditating for 30 minutes. For more experienced people or those who have the luxury of time, they meditate for longer sessions like 20 to 30 minutes. However, for people who constantly juggles his or her time, 3 to 5 minutes can already make a huge impact.
What if I cannot stop my thoughts or concentrate fully while meditating?
According to Megan Monahan, the author of “Don’t Hate, Meditate”, meditation is not really stopping your thoughts but getting more comfortable witnessing the thoughts. When you notice that you are already involved in your thoughts or in the sounds or physical sensations around you, you can go back to your breathing or witnessing awareness.
How long until I start noticing changes?
Normally at first, one would think that meditation is merely sitting down and doing nothing according to Megan Monahan. The best way to see the benefits is to be clear on your purpose of meditation whether to get enough sleep, cultivate more esteem, build strong relationships, or be less stressed. Once you determine your purpose, you will have an easier time being committed to the practice and notice the benefits in your life outside the meditation.
Even for 3 to 5 minutes of your time can already achieve mindfulness meditation. This practice can give promising effects to your physical and mental well-being. So, look for a place where you can relax and ease your mind and enjoy the benefits that mindfulness meditation brings.