What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness basically means being present, maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It implies acceptance of your stream of thoughts and feelings without judging them. Nothing is right or wrong, you simply become an observer.
It is a common practice among the Buddhist monks and it is said to teach knowledge of self. It is believed to be a way to reach enlightenment, freeing one’s self of strife and suffering. Mindfulness helps to cleanse the mind, body and soul, through various techniques such as concentration on breathing patterns.
Although, the roots of mindfulness are found in Buddhism, the secular practice of mindfulness has entered the mainstream in part through the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Created in 1979 by professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR is utilized in assisting people who suffer from stress, anxiety, pain, and illness. This program has been introduced for balancing out the mind and body, helping you to release all worries of the day and creating a relaxing environment in the process. MBSR teaches you to focus the energy within you and send it to those areas of the body which are causing the problems. Once you’re in a peaceful state of awareness, you are encouraged to perform various yoga and mindfulness exercises.
Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness is a way of being but meditation is the formal practice of it. The first things you try to do when you meditate is focus on your breathing, observing the flow of air coming in and out. It helps you to be Present, here and now, having peace and tranquillity of the heart and mind. In turn, this will help you to be more mindful in your day to day life. For instance, you may enjoy a morning cup of tea, utilizing all of your senses, opening yourself to its every facet, deeply breathing in the savory aroma, as well as being receptive to the message it’s sending to your taste buds. Enjoy every single detail about the tea and have a grateful feeling on the inside. So, being mindful is globally a state of mind.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
There are numerous benefits associated with mindfulness, most of which are health related:
- An internal stillness and state of being calm
- Gives overall peace of mind
- Improvement in brain functions
- Clarity of thinking and perception of the world
- The lowering of blood pressure and heart rate
- Feeling a connection with the Earth and its inhabitants
- Improves immunity functions
- Enhances awareness of self
- Promotes the ability for focusing
- Reduces stress related illnesses
- Helps in a reduction of pain levels
- Alleviates symptoms of various mental disorders such as with depression
- Improves social association with the public
These are just a few of the healthy advantages of daily mindfulness meditation practice but there are much more.
Mindfulness Exercises and Techniques
Here are some helpful exercises to get you more mindful during your meditation and day to day life:
One of the most important factors surrounding mindfulness is being aware of your breathing patterns. If this is your first time meditating, start out slowly and gradually extend the amount of time which is spent doing so. Start out by inhaling a nice, deep breath and then slowly exhaling it. Doing so for at least 2 to 10 minutes. Breathing in through the nose and breathing out through your mouth, allowing it to flow in an effortless manner. Now release all thoughts from your mind, totally clearing them of the day’s events. Be aware of your breathing patterns and how they’re travelling in and out of the body.
Another significant part of mindfulness is observational awareness of your surroundings. It’ll enhance the appreciation you feel inside for everything in the environment. Look around the room and pick one specific item to concentrate your energy on. Choosing anything you’d like, such as a house plant, portrait, favorite statuette or some special article that you’re fond of. For one to two minutes, focus your total attention on it, thinking about nothing else. Stay in a relaxed state of being, while continuing to concentrate on your breathing. Make a personal connection with that item and feel its energy flowing freely through you.
After a few days of practicing mindfulness, you’ll be able to notice immediate results. Improving your overall health and changing the way in which you view the world. All it takes is perseverance and several minutes out of your daily life.
What do you think about mindfulness? What’s your experience with it in meditation and in your daily life? Just leave us a comment below.
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