What is the first thing you think of when someone tells you to meditate? Perhaps you think of monks sitting cross-legged repeating “hum” in a Zen garden. This may be the truth for some, but the modern world has taken a different approach to meditation, combining the practice with a concept known as mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation has shown to have long-lasting benefits and can be easily done by anybody.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is an approach to becoming aware of our breath and mindset. It involves examining each breath we take and noticing how our mind begins to wander during this task. As we continue to practice returning to our breath, we are able to build the muscles of attention and mindfulness. We increase our own ability to stay in the present as we guide ourselves to return to and remain in the here and now.
Benefits of Meditation
Although meditation is not a complete cure-all, the practice itself can lead to overall stress relief from daily life. This bit of relief is sometimes all we need to make better choices for ourselves and those who surround us. It is observed that, “when we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives. And bonus: you don’t need any extra gear or an expensive membership.” Below are the top five reason you should practice meditating daily:
- Understand your pain
- Lower your stress
- Connect better with yourself and others
- Improve overall focus
- Reduce brain chatter
The practice itself can be hard at first because we are not used to quiet self-reflection. But practice makes perfect! These practices can be done anywhere – whether you are in the breakroom, your desk at the office, or a designated room within your own home. Simply make sure you are somewhere you can relax, set a timer, and give it a shot.
- Take a seat in a comfortable, calming space.
- Set a timer for five to ten minutes for beginners (recommended), but do whatever feels comfortable for you.
- Notice your body. There is no right or wrong way to find your center. You can decide to sit in a chair with your feet to the ground, sit on the floor with your legs crossed, or kneel. Make sure you are in a stable position you can stay in for some time.
- Feel your breath and notice how your breath goes in and out.
- Notice when your mind wanders. At some point your mind will begin to wander from your breath and that is okay. When you notice this, take a moment to bring your attention back to your breath.
- Be kind to yourself by giving yourself grace and simply come back to your breathing. Don’t judge or obsess over why your mind has wandered.
- Take notice of your thoughts and emotions. When you are ready, simply lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed) and take a moment to notice your surroundings. Notice how your body feels at this moment.
You did it! You practiced your first meditation. Remember this moment and practice as you see fit for your own life.
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