Do you get easily caught up in a pattern of negative or distracting thoughts? Thinking about everything that needs to get done, regretting past events, or worrying about the future? Practicing mindfulness meditation can help!
But first, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental meditative practice that trains your mind to calm its thoughts It helps you let go of any negativity, and relax your mind and body. It is a mental state of being focused on the present or “the now”, so that you can be fully aware to accept your thoughts, sensations, and emotions “as they are” or without judgment.
Techniques on mindfulness meditation can differ from person to person, but generally, it involves some breathing exercises and strategies for being aware of both your mind and body. Also, practicing it does Not require special preparation or “props” like mantras, scented candles, or essential oils. They are unnecessary, unless you really enjoy them.
To get started, all you really need is a silent, peaceful, and comfortable space to sit for about 3 to 5 minutes on your free time daily. Remember, meditation is a type of mental training, so it’s not supposed to be perfect or consistent at first.
How to Start Meditating Mindfully
Mindfulness meditation is a pretty easy and straightforward practice to do on your own. If you are interested in using it for a specific health reason, then having a coach or a legitimate program can help guide you through.
The basic steps on how to get started on your own:
Set Aside a Regular Time for Meditation
Whether you wake up 30 minutes before starting your day or allot a few minutes to meditate while winding down before bedtime. Make sure to make time each day to practice meditation. Don’t worry if life gets in the way sometimes so you miss a day or two, just keep up with the routine the next day.
Use a Timer
While using a timer (preferably one with a soft alarm) is unnecessary, it can help you avoid being too conscious about the time so you can focus more on your meditation. Some people may also tend to lose track of their time while meditating. It can help ensure that you are not meditating for too lengthy a time.
Finding a quiet, comfortable place to meditate is the most important requirement for this practice. Sit on a chair or on the floor, but either way, keep your neck, head, and back straight but not tense. You can also wear loose, comfortable clothing to help you relax more.
Relax and Refocus
When you find yourself getting too distracted by your thoughts, whether because of fear, worry, anxiety, or even excitement, just take a mental note of where your mind got distracted, but do it without judgment. Then, refocus and return to your breathing. Do not be hard on yourself whenever this happens. Remember, the practice of mindfulness means the ability to relax and return to your breathing so you can focus again on the present.
Try an App
Need more help in practicing mindfulness meditation by yourself? Consider downloading and using an app such as Calm or Headspace. These offer free meditation guides and share a variety of tools to help you become more “centered” throughout your day to day activities.
FAQs About Mindfulness Meditation
If you’re new to meditating, you probably have some questions. Like: how it works, what its benefits are, or what you can do if you are having troubles getting “in the now.”
Here are a few tips or answers to frequently asked questions about meditation:
Regularly practicing mindfulness meditation offers physical as well as mental health benefits. Such as managing your anxiety, stress levels, depression. It also helps with certain disorders, such as eating and sleeping disorders and anger management.
At its best, it may also help heal relationship problems and make you an overall calmer, healthier and happier person.
The good news is that mindfulness meditation isn’t about stopping or ignoring your thoughts. As long as you are breathing, your mind will always fill itself with thoughts. However, the goal of meditation is to become more comfortable and accepting while you’re “witnessing” your thoughts. As you refocus instead on relaxing your mind and body.
It’s almost as if you are listening to a stressful conversation but you’re succeeding in not getting involved or reacting to it.
When you do notice that you have allowed yourself to become “triggered” by thoughts bothering your mind, you can find your way back and refocus instead on your breathing and the sounds or sensations around you.
At first, meditation may seem like you’re just sitting there, not accomplishing anything. However, the real benefits of meditation will be obvious outside of your actual meditation time. When you look at how it has made changes in your life. For instance, you will have more focus when listening to other people, or you may feel you are more connected in your relationships.
One of the best ways to maximize the benefits of meditation is to get specific and clear about why you are meditating. If you focus and become more mindful of your motivation(s) or intentions when meditating. (For example: your desire to sleep better, to feel less stressed, to nourish more self-love, etc.). You will find it easier to stay committed to your practice. And you will see more quickly when its benefits reveal themselves in your outside world.
Mindfulness in Your Everyday Life
As you start regularly practicing mindfulness meditation, you will find that it begins to also find ways to bring all its benefits into your everyday life as well.
Especially on days when your life gets too hectic to set aside a minute or two for some alone time. You’ll see that it will become easier for you to stay calm and mindful even when you are not sitting still, doing nothing. You will start doing most things, even the most mundane tasks mindfully!
Practice being mindful any time when you just simply rest your attention on any present moment. Regardless of what you are doing or experiencing. Not only can this enrich the way you are engaging in your present moment or activities, it will also allow you to be more grounded or present in your current time. Rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future!
Related Article: Keys to Meditation applied to everyday life
You Can Easily Practice Mindfulness When:
Instead of letting your mind aimlessly wander while jogging or running on the treadmill. Try to focus your mind instead on your breathing and how your body feels when you move it. Notice when each of your feet land on the ground, thudding.
2. Brushing your teeth
Feel the brush in your palm, and notice how your arm moves up and down while brushing.
3. Doing the dishes
Pay attention to the feeling of the water running through your hands. Observe how the bubbles lather, or listen to how the pot and pans sound when they hit the sink’s bottom.
4. Washing or ironing the laundry
Smell the fresh scent of your clean clothes or feel the fabric on your cheek. Focus on a good thought while counting your breath as you fold your freshly pressed laundry.
5. Getting ready for bed
Relish the feeling of your smooth warm bed and soft blanket. Notice how your skin feel as your back relaxes on your bed.
Mindfulness meditation truly is a beautiful technique, and everyday tasks and activities give you plenty of opportunities to practice it!