Mindfulness and meditation go hand and hand, with a likeness of cousins if not siblings. Practicing mindful meditation may seem simple, but it can have a long-lasting impact on your quality of life, mental health, and/or general well being. Practicing mindfulness can be an excellent stress reliever, and provide a constructive way for you to clear your head and feel more at peace.
In this article we’re going to talk about:
First, let’s break down the concept of mindful meditation a bit. Most are familiar with the practice of taking some time out of your day to meditate, but mindfulness is not as well-known. It relies on a similar principle of eliminating stress by making ourselves fully present, and aware of our reality. Mindfulness removes us from all of the intricate parts of our daily lives, and the chaotic nature of our thoughts and brings us to a place where we are no longer overwhelmed by external factors. Although mindfulness is something you can feel on your morning commute or while you’re out with friends, it truly becomes effective if you deliberately try to exercise mindfulness every day.
While diving into the world of mindful meditation, it’s a good idea to take note of the fact that the goal is to wake our mental, emotional, and physical processes up. It is there for us in a way that allows us to perceive our thoughts as thoughts, and the shag carpet in the middle of your living room as the shag carpet in the middle of the living room. Mindful meditation reminds us of our place in this world and centers us among our surroundings. It allows us to reconnect with our natural existence, and practicing it over an extended period of time starts to help our brains rewire themselves.
Mindfulness has been proven to decrease stress as well as anxiety and results in being better at paying attention. In a study done by Harvard Medical School, they found that using mindful meditation leads to a change in the gray matter in the brain that results in better memory retention, better emotion regulation, and better concept of self.
Contrary to many beliefs, mindful meditation doesn’t have to be practiced in one set location or place in your house. Mindfulness is a capability that is always with you, making it fairly easy to tap into if you so choose. That being said, you can practice mindfulness while brushing your teeth, or at work, or while cooking a meal. Taking effort and putting it into being aware of your surroundings and what you’re doing in the present, is the core of what mindfulness is. But if you’re someone who likes a bit more structure, or you find yourself not even knowing where to begin, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
A good place to start if you’re new to meditation is setting up a time to practice it each day. While mindfulness is accessible virtually anywhere, mindful meditation may feel best for you if you do set a time and place each day to practice it. For starters, we’ve put together a list of steps you can follow to start to ease yourself into getting familiar with the feeling of practicing mindful meditation:
“Emptying your mind” is often misconstrued when talking about meditation. If you focus shifts from your breath or the task at hand, it’s perfectly fine. When this happens, gently guide your focus back, and try not to focus on eradicating the thought altogether. It’s also very important to note that not every sitting position or routine is perfect for everyone. Finding a place that’s comfortable, and constructive for you is the main goal of all of this.
Sometimes, the hardest part of adding anything into our lives is getting started. It’s fairly easy to get bogged down with the chaos and unruly cycle of our everyday lives, but if you make a commitment to finding time, you’d be surprised at just how much you can fit in. Fortunately, something like mindful meditation doesn’t require a gym membership or any extensive amount of time.
If you can manage to start practicing mindful meditation for two minutes every day, it would be undoubtedly better than not taking the plunge and refusing to do it at all. If you kept those two minutes up for a few months, you’d most certainly start to notice a difference in the way that you’re living. There are also no rules as to how much or how little you should practice it. Whether you take out two minutes of your time, or two hours exclusively on a Thursday, mindful meditation is a tool that is meant to suit your personal needs. It’s only natural that it would adhere to your schedule too.
The new digital age has presented many opportunities for things like guided meditations to flourish. As of right now, there are plenty of websites and apps for your mobile devices with written or audio instructions, that help their audience navigate mindful meditation. Apps like Calm or Headspace also allow you to keep up with your mindfulness sessions by sending reminders to your phone or allowing you to add it to your virtual schedule. We live in an age that is overrun with resources and technologies that are meant to make our lives a bit easier. So why not use those very same resources on your journey towards being more mindful, and feeling grounded in your day-to-day life.
Whether or not you’re in a place in your life where you’re looking for a change, mindful meditation is something you can do fairly easily. The only thing standing between practicing or not is making the conscious decision to do so. The true difficulty in mindfulness is not the act of doing it itself, but having the discipline to continue to practice it. So much of what we consume, through TV or social media, is based upon a system of instant gratification. Naturally, that creates a sense of impatience in a lot of people when it comes to getting results. If you’ve got friends or a significant other in your life, it might benefit you to practice together or discuss your sessions. This keeps both of you accountable as you begin to make it a habit and also allows you to become more thoughtful about others’ experiences as well as your own. It’s important to dig deep and stick with it as best you can because, in the end, the payoff could seriously enrich your life.
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