We live in a world and age where mindfulness meditation and spirituality have taken over our society, becoming two of the most important concepts in both the Western and Eastern parts of the world. Mindfulness meditation is one of the simplest forms of meditations we can tap into. However, until recently, this form of meditation was unknown to the Western world. Thanks to the Eastern culture, we can now leverage the huge benefits of mind meditation and develop improved sensorial skills.
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What Actually is Mindful Meditation?
Guided mindfulness meditation is a modern, westernized form of meditation derived from the standard 2,500 years old Buddhist practice also known as Insight Meditation or Vipassana. This unique form of meditation has been widely used along the years to enable practitioners to develop the powerful skill of paying attention and taking control of both their inner and outer experiences, enabling them to develop an increased level of acceptance, compassion and patience.
According to a recent post by the scientists from the University of California Center for Mindfulness, mindfulness meditations are those practices that can be seen as a quality of the human beings. Humans can use this type of meditation only if they become aware of its importance. This quality is not actually thinking, but the awareness of being able to think and to feel the exterior world. In other words, mindfulness meditation enables you to dive deep into yourself and experience a higher level of the standard experiences of the sensory world, namely hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting and smelling.
Mindful meditation is cultivated having a non-judgmental, friendly and open-hearted approach and by focusing on the purpose instead of the outcome. This practice enables practitioners to enjoy life more and live less on “autopilot”. In the end, people who practice mindfulness meditation regularly can make the most out of each day while reaping some other exquisite benefits.Mindfulness meditation is a unique type of meditation for peace of mind. It is about observation without criticism. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing your whole attention on your breath. By doing so, you start to close to the outside world and to all the worries of the day, and you begin to open up to your inner being.Once we enter that unique state of meditation, we find that “sacred” place where everything else seems to fade away and the real joys of life spring up. The goal of the mindfulness meditation practice is to achieve a flawless connection with the universe and achieve that perfect mind-body-soul connection.
Why Should you Practice Mindfulness Meditation?
Meditation mindfulness is a very powerful practice that, when cultivated, enables you to overcome suffering and enjoy more inner stability coupled with inner calmness. Mindfulness meditation is unique in its nature due to the fact that it is not directed towards changing us, but geared towards making us behave different to external factors.
Constant daily practice of various mindfulness meditation exercises enables you to cultivate an out-of-this-world stability and awareness, helping you to disentangle from all of those habits that keep you tied to the ground and create stronger and healthier relationships with other people.
As human beings, it is quite normal for our minds to wander quickly to other things. Focusing has become a huge burden nowadays. That’s why mindfulness meditation is so effective and important – it enables us to take control of our emotions, thoughts and ultimately our lives, although we live in a frantic world where being calm and in control is a rare virtue. There is no wonder we are so lost in daydreams about the future and the past, and we find ourselves unable to focus on the present things. All of these mental distractions have a huge toll on our minds and bodies, creating anxiety, stress, worry, fear and ultimately relentless emotional suffering.
By practicing mindfulness meditation on a daily basis, you develop a strong ability to stop paying attention to the future struggles or past failures, and to focus on the immediate experience. As a result, you get to enjoy a clearer picture of the present moment and you can easily find new methods to deal with the present worries and problems. Instead of losing yourself at the mercy of anger, worry, fear and disappointment, you can expand your ability to choose your own outcome to any situation in your life and find the best solution to each problem, in ways that have probably been out of reach before.
Enjoying Meditation for Peace of Mind
Mindfulness, a precise meditation practice, allows you to pay nonjudgmental attention to each one of your experiences, as they arise and need to be confronted. Instead of struggling to get away from those experiences that seem hard to deal with, even daunting, you can make the most out of mindfulness meditation to get through them while keeping your head up. At the same time, you can bring those experiences to more pleasant, even “acceptable” levels.
When you are mindful, you actually take full control of your life. You care for your life and you understand what needs to be changed in order for you to thrive and become successful in life. Moreover, being mindful about your life enables you to open up to others and see their needs. As a consequence, you will begin to help others more and cater to their needs, seeking to fulfill them.
Mindfulness Meditation Benefits
Guided mindfulness meditation comes with a multitude of benefits that can leave you astounded. Jon Kabat Zinn, the well-famed mindfulness meditation expert, describes the meditation experience as focusing on the present, while totally renouncing judgment. There is no doubt that the benefits of guided mindfulness meditation promoted by Jon Kabat Zinn is something we all want to achieve and take advantage of.
Here are 10 amazing benefits of mindfulness meditation.
- Allows you to know yourself better: mindfulness enables you to see past those dark colored lenses and objectively analyze yourself. We all know how easy is to analyze others, but how hard it is to actually analyze ourselves. We usually tend to judge ourselves lighter, while we tend to be harsher with the judgment we pass to others. Psychological studies prove that mindfulness meditation is one of the best tools to conquer those blind spots we all have.
- Lowers stress: mindfulness meditation is great, because it is literally a powerful countermeasure to a stressful life. By taking the right mindfulness meditation classes or by simply performing this practice all by yourself, in your safe place or solitary confinement, you can fight stress and anxiety and enjoy a happier life. Mindfulness meditation can decrease the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. Here’s the study backing up this theory here.
- Strengthens the brain: according to a recent study conducted by a group of scientists from the University of Oregon, integrative body-mind training can be highly beneficial for the human brain, changing the patterns our brains use to protect themselves against mental illnesses.
- Makes music more pleasant: most people who have been engaged in mindfulness meditation testified that they were able to enjoy music much better after each session. They were able to enjoy every single sound more and put more emphasis on the overall auditory experience.
- Four beneficial elements: the major benefits of mindfulness meditation can be pinned down to four major elements: regulation of emotions, increased self-awareness, improved body awareness and regulation of attention.
- It makes you feel better: it has been observed that people who practice mindfulness meditation on a daily basis are happier and become better with those around them. Being kind to others in such a cold world is definitely a virtue, one that can’t be acquired easily. According to another study performed by Northeastern University and Harvard University researchers, mindfulness meditation can make you a more compassionate person
- Save money on health: not only that you will become healthier after practicing mindfulness, but your wallet will also become happier. Practicing mindfulness meditation is linked with lower doctor costs and less money spent on medicine, according to the scientists from the American Journal of Health Promotion.
- Lowers depression risk among pregnant women: while most pregnant women will experience depression at least once during the pregnancy period, some are prone to extensive periods of depression. The impact of mindfulness on pregnant women with a huge risk of depression is encouraging, outlines a study conducted by Dr. Maria Muzik, M.D, a well-famed professor from the University of Michigan.
- Promotes weight loss: another huge benefit of mindfulness meditation for your body is that it promotes healthy weight loss. Coupled with the right weight loss program, meditation could help you achieve your weight loss goals in a very short period of time.
- A whole lot of other benefits: in addition to these main benefits, mindfulness meditation offers a wide variety of other benefits. Some of them are listed below:
– Treats diabetes, sleep disorders, headaches and rheumatoid arthritis.
– Promotes a healthy immune system.
– Improves your decision-making process.
– Helps you cope with anxiety, irritability and depression.
– Improves sleep and digestion.
– Decreases blood pressure and heart rate.
– Leads to improved pain management.
– Elevates immune system functions.
– Increases energy all throughout the day.
How Should you Practice Mindfulness?
Fortunately, there are several mindfulness meditation techniques you can use to make the most out of this positive experience. In the same way someone might practice martial arts or practice learning to play a musical instrument, mindfulness meditation is a skill developed over time.
The easiest way to practice mindfulness is to follow the physical sensations of your breath leaving your body. Let your breath flow naturally, without trying to control it. There are three aspects you need to keep in consideration next on: body, breath and thoughts. While focusing on your breath is definitely the most important of these three, your body posture and your thoughts are also very important.
You can either meditate with your eyes open or with your eyes closed. Because very few people can actually dedicate a whole room to this practice, more than often you might need to choose a corner of your room or a spot in the house where you can have a quiet time and meditate accordingly. If you see fit, you can make your own “meditation altar” in a corner of your room and decorate it with pictures of sacred objects, candles and other objects that help you detach from your thoughts and go deep into yourself. However, as long as you are not sitting in front of a computer monitor, a TV or a window, you should be able to focus.
Once you’ve picked your spot, it is time to choose your seat. You can sit on a cushioned chair, a bed, a sofa or even on the floor. The point is to have a stable chair that does not wiggle around. Now that you picked your spot and your chair, it is time to look at your posture.
Take a upright posture that is stable, but not rigid. Cross your legs comfortable in front of you, lift your hands or rest them on your lap, and start meditating. Start focusing on your breath and try to focus your attention on the environment and your body instead of your breath. If you focus too much on your breath, you will notice many thoughts coming your way.
The hardest part of mindfulness meditation is taking control over your thoughts. Thoughts might try to overlap each other. While some thoughts might be about future, such as plans for the future or worries, others might be fantasies, TV commercials or even dreams you had in the past. To help you focus better, you can actually purchase a mindfulness meditation cd or download a free mindfulness meditation app such as Calm, Headspace or Stop, Breathe & Think. Ultimately, you can buy a mindfulness meditation book to guide you further in meditation.
Through the regular practice of mindfulness meditation, you begin to transform your inner being and you start to reap all the amazing benefits of this practice. This ancient practice which is now the most modern approach we have to attain inner peace and happiness will continue to change millions of lives across the globe. Use it at its fullest potential and become a better person.