What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of fully bringing one’s attention to the present moment. This means noticing your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they arise, without judgment. Mindfulness can be practiced through breathing methods, guided imagery, or body scanning. There are many forms of this practice, and they all aim to relax the mind and body. The ability to tap into mindfulness is within everybody’s reach. However, the art of concentration seems to be lost in today’s digitally distracted world.
Our minds are often cluttered with mental to-do lists, plans and millions of racing thoughts. When there’s too much on your plate, it’s easy for stress and anxiety to build up. Mindfulness presents an opportunity for us to direct our attention away from our problems and toward our bodies and surroundings.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
New studies are consistently being conducted to better understand the effects of mindfulness meditation. While there is still some mystery around this practice, we’ve identified five benefits that researchers believe to be true:
If you struggle with getting enough rest, you’ll want to explore this important benefit further. Research conducted on older adults with sleep problems found that mindfulness meditation provided short-term relief from sleep disturbances, and improved sleep quality.
Mindfulness meditation can be used as a tool for dealing with panic attacks brought on by anxiety. A 2015 study conducted on nursing students concluded that upon utilizing mindful meditation techniques, students reported a significant drop in anxiety and stress levels.
Stress has the ability to impact us both mentally and physically. Learning how to manage your stress in a healthy way is important for your well-being. Good stress management trickles down to better sleep and overall improved quality of life. One great way to handle life’s stressors is to practice mindfulness meditation. The practice has been found to reduce cortisol levels which can help with controlling blood pressure and lessening inflammation.
Research suggests that mindfulness can increase the brain’s grey matter density. Grey matter is associated with learning and memory processes.
Promotes Emotional Health
Mindful practices have been found to increase the size of regions in the brain that are connected to emotional regulation and self-control. Being in control of our emotions can help us communicate better, improve our relationships, and diffuse conflict.
How to Get Started with Mindfulness Meditation
Choose Your Posture
Before beginning your practice, you may choose to either sit on a chair, sit on the floor or stand. Find what’s most comfortable for you. Be sure to relax your arms and shoulders.
Begin to Pay Close Attention to your Body
Once you’re settled in, you can perform a body scan here and zone in on the sensations that you are feeling. This allows you to bring awareness to every single part of your body and notice any tension or pressure you may be experiencing.
Start Focusing on Your Breath
At this stage, you can close your eyes or fix your gaze on an object in your environment. As you breathe, take note of the expansion and contraction of your abdomen.
Your Mind May Wander
As you spend time in deep meditation, you’ll notice that you may lose focus. This is perfectly normal if you’re new to the world of mindfulness. When this happens, it’s important to acknowledge that you have indeed gotten slightly distracted. This is where the practice of non-judgment comes into play. Don’t be upset with yourself because you’ve lost focus. Simply allow your thoughts to pass, and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
First-time meditators tend to be concerned about how much time they should spend meditating. The truth is, there is no specific length of time that will necessarily allow you to notice results. Sure, lengthier sessions are often encouraged, but many find satisfaction in practicing for even 5-10 minutes a day.
What matters more than the length of your sessions is the frequency. Practicing mindful meditation on a regular basis is a great habit to develop. Consider practicing in the morning as a way to start your day on a positive note. On the other hand, you can practice in the evening to wind down after taking Zenbev.
If you need some help getting started, you’re in luck. There are many YouTube videos and podcasts available that teach the basics of meditation. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, anytime. No equipment necessary – just be sure to bring an open mind!