As important as having a healthy body, it’s to have a healthy mind. Mindful thoughts of health and well-being help us live a life with less stress and more focus.
In my previous post about mindfulness, I added a guided meditation podcast.
I hope you spared 5 minutes of your day to enjoy it at least once.
Meditation is such an important tool in mindfulness.
It can help so many aspects of one’s life that I decided to write about it first.
There are various ways types of meditation such as:
- Buddhist Meditation
- Hindu Meditation
- Chinese Meditation
- Christian Meditation
- Guided Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has Buddhist origins. However, it’s not only practiced by followers of the philosophy.Learn how to improve your life with meditation. #coach #mentor #MindfulPlanning Click To Tweet
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is practiced sitting with eyes closed, cross-legged on a cushion, or on a chair, with the back straight. Attention is put on the movement of the abdomen when breathing in and out, or on the awareness of the breath as it goes in and out the nostrils.1
Mindfulness meditation is not guided by any particular goal. It doesn’t build any intention.
In fact, its sole goal is to help practitioners to be present at the moment.
Awareness of what is, without judgment or the selection of thoughts, is the objective.
Benefits of mindfulness meditation
Among all the known benefits, I’ll focus on 5 on this post:
1. Stress reduction
During the practice of mindfulness meditation, your thoughts stop going through your:
- endless to-dos
- full schedule
- countless obligations
It’s like you can remove yourself from an oppressing environment and enjoy nothing but your presence and the now.
According to a study from 2013, there’s a correlation between the increase of mindfulness and decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.2
2. Support for individuals with arthritis
While mindfulness meditation doesn’t cure arthritis itself, it has shown significant results in the support of patients.
- psychological distress
- self-efficacy pain and symptoms
- emotional processing
- self-care ability
- overall well-being
Researchers at the University of Leuven worked with more than 400 Flemish students varying from 13 up to 20 years old.4
According to their findings, school-based mindfulness programs can help to reduce and prevent depression in adolescents.
4. Weight loss
7 out of 10 psychologists considered mindfulness meditation “excellent” or “good” when it comes to supporting weight loss.
It happens because even though the practice does not involve the control your thoughts, it keeps negativity in check.
When you are in the present, there’s no room for cravings or overeating. And you are also able to make better decisions your own.
Every single day, we are bombed with (misleading) information and judgment. It can be so overwhelming that we reach a point in which we may lose sight of who we truly are and what is external perception.
Having to please “everyone” to be accepted and survive the continuous rat race, doesn’t help us either.
In this chaos, it has been proved that mindfulness meditation improves self-knowledge.5
How to practice mindfulness meditation
To practice mindfulness meditation, all you need is a silent place where you can sit comfortably.
The most common position is sitting on the floor, but those who may not feel at ease in this position can get the same results by using a chair.
If you are also standing on a line, instead of letting your thoughts run wild, you can also “disconnect” yourself from the surrounds and meditate.
You’ll not have the silent aspect, but it’s still better than letting stress take over.
If you know you are not going to fall asleep; you can also do mindfulness meditation lying down. But if the temptation of taking a nap is strong, it’s not recommended.
Fix your attention on your breath and nothing else. Mainly, in the beginning, your mind may open a pandora box of thoughts. Don’t try to control them or “make them go away”.
Don’t judge or get emotional.
Just focus on your breath. Let your thoughts come and go “as they wish”.
With time, this will happen with less frequency and intensity.
To avoid “worrying” about the minutes set a timer for the duration of the session.
This way you won’t have to look at the clock to check the time. You use an app like Calm too. It’s available for desktop, iPhone, and Android.
Once it’s meditation is done, allow your body to “awake” slowly. While you will go back to your daily responsibilities, you want to take the mindful mood with you.6How to learn more about yourself with meditation. #coach #mentor #MindfulPlanning Click To Tweet
I included as many studies as I could find on this blog on purpose. I wanted you to know that the effects of mindfulness meditation aren’t hocus-pocus. There are studies that prove its benefits.
Unfortunately, we are always guided to believe that OTCs and OTCs alone can help us.
While medical treatments should never be neglected, there are other ways to prevent diseases and conditions or, at least, alleviate their symptoms. And some of these practices are being tested by scientists.
Aside from the drugs, vaccines and other invasive methods, there are also effective non-invasive ones as well.
As mentioned above, mindfulness meditation has its origins in Buddhism, but it isn’t a religious practice.
People from any background or belief can do it without being in conflict with their principles.
Before you go
Can you answer the following question in the comments below, please?
Will you make time for some mindfulness meditation on a regular basis?
Read all the posts in this series:
- How To Hack Your Lifestyle For Mindfulness
- How To Hack Your Lifestyle For Mindfulness With Meditation
- How To Hack Your Lifestyle For Mindfulness With Nutrition
- How To Hack Your Lifestyle For Mindfulness With Exercise
- How To Hack Your Lifestyle For Mindfulness With Wellness
- Jacobs TL, Shaver PR, Epel ES, Zanesco AP, Aichele SR, Bridwell DA, Rosenberg EL, King BG, Maclean KA, Sahdra BK, Kemeny ME, Ferrer E, Wallace BA, Saron CD. – Self-reported mindfulness and cortisol during a Shamatha meditation retreat. – Health Psychol. 2013 Oct;32(10):1104-9. doi: 10.1037/a0031362. Epub 2013 Mar 25.
- Heidi A Zangi, Petter Mowinckel, Arnstein Finset, Liv R Eriksson, Turid Ø Høystad, Anne Kristine Lunde, Kåre B Hagen – A mindfulness-based group intervention to reduce psychological distress and fatigue in patients with inflammatory rheumatic joint diseases: a randomized controlled trial – Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-200351
- Filip Raes, James W. Griffith, Katleen Van der Gucht, J. Mark G. Williams – School-Based Prevention and Reduction of Depression in Adolescents: a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness Group Program – Mindfulness, October 2014, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 477-486
- Erika N. Carlson – Overcoming the Barriers to Self-Knowledge, Mindfulness as a Path to Seeing Yourself as You Really Are – Perspectives on Psychological ScienceMarch 2013 vol. 8 no. 2 173-186
- Gaëlle Desbordes, Lobsang T. Negi, Thaddeus W. W. Pace, B. Alan Wallace, Charles L. Raison, and Eric L. Schwartz – Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state – Front Hum Neurosci. 2012; 6: 292. Published online 2012 Nov 1. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00292