A Quick Guide to Mindfulness Meditation
You know that the only time we ever have is the present, right here, right now.
So what is mindfulness meditation?
What are the benefits?
Isn’t mindfulness and mindfulness meditation the same thing?
How to practice it?
We often avoid being in the here and now, in favour of sending our mind to the past or to the future or just to allow it to wander around aimlessly and do its own thing.
This directly impacts how much of our time we spend being actively engaged in the present, and how much time we spend physically being present and yet entirely being absent.
The lack of “living in the now” presence is a big issue that has proven to have some negative effects on our own well-being, our happiness, and even our own productivity.
So, what is the solution?
One of the best-studied and most effective approaches to becoming more focused on the present IS mindfulness.
This is the art of learning how to be in the here and now gently and without judgment, it’s both a skill and a practice that works very well to improve our mental and physical health.
One of the best ways to get started with mindfulness is through meditation.
What is mindfulness meditation?
This is a way of giving your full attention to the present.
You will notice how you breathe “right now”.
How your body feels “right now”.
What are your emotions now?
And what is going on around you in the present moment?
You will pay attention to your sensations, your feelings and your experiences.
You will do this gently, bringing your attention back with compassion whenever it strays but doing this in a non-judgmental way.
And this is the essence of mindfulness meditation.
What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?
Research on mindfulness has bloomed in the past few decades, and today we know that it can help us reduce anxiety and some levels of depression, lower stress, enjoy our lives more, be happier, and even serve as a buffer against developing mental illness.
Mindfulness is a practice that will allow us to pay attention and truly experience what is happening “right now”.
A meditation is generally a practice people can pick up without the need for a lot of training or effort.
There are many guided mindfulness meditation audios out there – the recordings will walk you through each step gently and teach you how to go about the process.
As you become better and more experienced, you can figure out which style works for you best.
You can also practice mindfulness without meditation.
In this case, it involves trying to be as conscious and present as you can as you go about your day.
At first, you might try focusing on the food you eat or a task you’re doing.
With time, mindfulness becomes a positive health habit.
But you might ask: Isn’t mindfulness and mindfulness meditation the same thing?
Mindfulness is the general state and skill of being fully present,
non-judgmental yet paying attention.
How do I practice mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a specific practice to build up your mental muscles to a level and skill as a part of your daily life to help you improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Practising mindfulness meditation is intentionally training your brain on how to “slow down” and gently “let go” of the stressors that you picked up from your day’s journey, as you focus intently on your breath work and connect more with the spiritual you.
The more times you practice this, the healthier habit you have adopted for your mental health and psychical wellbeing.
You’ll almost immediately feel the various benefits of this kind and loving practice of living in the present tense, focusing on your life-giving breath while you release as much as you need from the past tense.
Another supportive aid that can get you started is audio hypnosis or self-hypnosis.
As hypnosis induces a state that is quite similar to meditation, it also helps you to relax whilst introducing new healthier and more positive belief systems.
For example, you might focus on the intent to be more mindful, more present.
Can you be mindful all day? It could be a difficult goal right?
Perhaps Tibetan monks can manage it, but let’s face it most of us humans do get distracted.
At times, we want and need to let our minds wander out to green pastures, for example, to consider something new or play with an idea or just simply daydream.
However, the more we practice mindfulness, the better at it we get and the more times we can spend engaged being in the present.
When you first get started, you might benefit from consistent practice.
Did you know that five minutes a day every single day is better than twenty minutes once a week?
However, any practice is better than none.
At first, you might also need to make sure you are not disturbed and give yourself a peaceful space.
You can even be creative by setting your environment where it’s your own personal space as this could be your own sacred sanctuary right?
Somewhere you really look forward to, in having your own private time where you can completely “let go” and practice your own “inner connection” with you in the present tense.
Mindfulness is a pleasant state of mind, through some practice you will find yourself becoming more capable of staying mindful even when life can become hugely distracting at times.
If you don’t know where to start, use some of the options mentioned in this blog.
So we hope you enjoy your mindfulness meditation journey and let us know how your healthy new habit has made a difference in your daily life.
Behan C. (2020). The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices during times of crisis such as COVID-19. Irish Journal of psychological medicine, 37(4), 256–258. https://doi.org/10.1017/ipm.2020.38
Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clinical psychology review, 31(6), 1041–1056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006