Many people understand “mindfulness” is focusing one’s attention on the here and now. But, psychologists say that it is a heightened awareness of one’s own feelings and events. And to do mindfulness meditation you have to focus more on the present moment.
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What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
We know that meditation is a mental exercise that has positive effects on one’s entire being. Mindfulness meditation is also a form of mental exercise. It helps you learn to control your racing mind, let go of stress, and relax your body and mind. It is when you focus on the present moment and don’t judge your feelings, or physical experiences. This is part of the process of meditating.
Mindfulness meditation is about focus and slow, deep breathing. It doesn’t need things like candles, aromatic oils, or mantras) to be effective. You only need a quiet area to relax, three to five minutes of your time, and an open mind to get started.
How To Do Mindfulness Meditation
You can practice mindfulness meditation by yourself. But it’s preferable to have a guide or program to get you started. That’s because most of you may be doing it to improve your health. Let’s get started! Have a look at the following basic guidelines.
Comfort Is A Priority
Get someplace calm and relaxing. Maintain an upright but relaxed posture. You can do that by sitting on a chair or on the floor. Wearing relaxed, comfortable attire might help you focus on the task at hand.
You don’t need any particular dress code. This is something that you can do anywhere and for any length of time.
Timer For 5 Minute Mindfulness Meditation
A timer with a soft, soothing alarm isn’t necessary for meditation. But it can help you focus on the exercise and forget about the passing of time. This way you will not get up to do something else.
It’s easy to lose track of time during meditation. This method can also help you avoid sitting still for too long. Make sure you give yourself some time after meditation. This time is to get used to your surroundings and stand up.
Some people meditate for hours at a time, but even a few minutes daily can have a positive effect. Start with 5-minute meditation sessions. Then by adding 10-15 minutes to each session, work your way up to 30-minute sessions.
Focus on the air entering and leaving your lungs as you breathe. Notice how your belly moves up and down. Observe the difference in temperature between the inhaled and exhaled breath.
Take Care Of Your Thoughts
The point is not to suppress mental activity but to become a more at ease “witness” to your own mental processes. Don’t brush off or bury your thoughts when they arise. Take note of them, but try to keep your cool and focus on your breathing. Think of your thoughts like clouds in the sky, floating by as they change and evolve. While meditating, you can repeat this as many times as you choose.
Disconnect To Reconnect
Lose track of your thoughts—whether they are ones of worry, dread, anxiety, or hope. Watch where they went without passing judgment and come back to your breathing. Don’t be hard on yourself if this happens. Mindfulness brings your attention back to your breath and the present moment. That is what it is.
App To Practice Mindfulness
Having problems getting started with mindfulness meditation on your own? Try downloading an app (like Calm or Headspace). These apps offer free guided meditations and instruction in other techniques. That helps in maintaining focus and relaxation throughout the day.
Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness involves accepting your current ideas, feelings, and surroundings. According to research, mindfulness improves physical and mental health in almost all persons. Let’s see the various benefits of mindfulness.
Many adults suffer from chronic stress. This links to an increased risk of health issues like melancholy and anxiety. Mindfulness, as recommended by the American Psychological Association, reduces stress and anxiety.
The symptoms of stress are treatable with mindfulness practices modified for this purpose. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week program, blending mindfulness and yoga. It helps people deal with the internal and external factors causing stress.
Adults, ages 18–64, need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, per the findings of the Sleep Research Foundation. Those of you who are 65 and up can get away with an hour less. The effects of sleep deprivation on the body and the brain are well documented.
They noted that the effects of meditation on sleep could be due to the following factors:
- helps you relax and impacts the awakening process by acting on the autonomic nervous system.
- stimulates melanin synthesis, a hormone associated with sleep.
- raises serotonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake when released before melatonin.
- slows down the cardiac rate
- has a hypotensive effect
- impacts the sleep-regulating regions of the brain
Managing Heart Rate
Research shows that practicing mindfulness can be good for your heart. This is important because heart disease is one of the top causes of death on big continents. In one study, they gave people with heart disease either normal treatment or an online course. People who practiced mindfulness meditation had lower resting heart rates. They seemed to do better on a test of cardio fitness.
It’s possible that practicing mindfulness can help you remember things better, too. Even commonplace memory issues, like forgetting your keys or missing a meeting, can be a huge pain. Proactive interference has older memories block access to newer ones. It is a common cause of such memory lapses.
Participants had four weeks of mindfulness training in a previous study. Participants learning mindfulness did better on tests of short-term memory. But they had the biggest drops in proactive interference.
But, the enhancements in memory were not the only ones displayed by the participants. Their brains also showed signs of alteration. Brain scans showed changes in the size of the hippocampal volume, the part of the brain related to memory.
Mindfulness requires many cognitive skills, including:
- Ability to pay attention for a long time
- Cognitive flexibility is the ability to change the way you think based on what you see and hear around you.
- Cognitive inhibition is the process of blocking off distracting thoughts.
These mental capacities enable a wide range of commonplace activities. They help you to process information rapidly and adjust your thinking accordingly. These abilities also ease quick task switching, increased focus, and more effective problem-solving.
More people think that practicing mindfulness can help with personal and social relationships. Research showed that such people were more likely to look past their partner’s flaws.
Those who are more open-minded in their relationships tend to be happier. Mindfulness helps people accept their partners with all their shortcomings. It doesn’t have them dwelling on the flaws or trying to change them.
Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement (MBRE) is a therapy. It helps to improve partners’ acceptance, relationship satisfaction, and all-round happiness. It includes mindful touching, focus on daily chores, and loving-kindness meditation.
Mindfulness Meditation Exercises For Health
Practicing mindfulness has helped lessen the bad effects of stress on the body. It reduces symptoms of chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
Mindfulness improves happiness and lowers stress. This suggests that it could be helpful for people with long-term illnesses.
Mindfulness training could help if you struggle to maintain a healthy weight. An old study says that it can help stick to a healthier diet and exercise routine. Mindfulness meditators also had a better success rate at maintaining their weight loss. What the study’s authors found was:
A recent study found that weight loss programs focus on awareness. Thus, they are better at stopping people from eating in ways that lead to obesity. Mindfulness-based weight loss was more sustainable than “lifestyle-change” weight loss.
How To Do Mindfulness Meditation In Daily Life
Are you too busy to sit still for a few minutes? You might find it helpful to find other ways to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Even though meditating now is one way to exercise mindfulness, there are many other ways too.
Feel your toes on the floor, the brush in your palm, and your arm sweeping back and forth while you wash your teeth.
Let your hands feel the warmth of the water as you wash the dishes. See the bubbles form on the pots and listen to the clinking of the pans as they rest in the washbasin.
While folding laundry, focus on how the clean clothes smell and how the fabric feels. Focus on your breathing while you fold clothes.
If you want to relax while driving, turn off the radio or put on some classical music. Visualize your spine straightening. Locate the sweet spot between letting go of the wheel and holding on too tight. Are your thoughts drifting? Draw them back to the present moment and the location of your vehicle.
Stop watching TV as you work out on the treadmill. Instead, try concentrating on your breathing and the placement of your feet.
When putting your children to bed, it’s important to get on their level. Look them in the eye, listen more than you talk, and enjoy any cuddle time. They will calm down as soon as you do.
“Mindfulness” has grown in popularity. These days, it’s usual to find programs teaching ‘How to do mindfulness meditation’.
Mindfulness-based treatments can lessen feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. Also, practicing mindfulness might enhance sleep and lower blood pressure.
To do mindfulness meditation, you don’t need extended periods of inactivity. Walking or eating is also exercise. Mindfulness in social interactions is workable.