Mindfulness Meditation: The Power to Live at the Present
I used to multitask everything from office work to household chores, I felt at some point I was invincible. Sadly, this way of living leaves me constantly stressed out, anxious and angry. I decided I need to slow down and make some positive changes to the way things are done.
That’s when I discovered the Mindfulness meditation through a friend. And I couldn’t thank her enough for helping me cope up with my struggles in life. I wrote this article to help you digest what Mindfulness is and how it can benefit in improving your life as well.
So what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of having conscious awareness of the present moment and accepting all thoughts, feelings and sensations as they come without judging oneself. It ‘s a state where you don’t worry about the past or the future. Your mind simply centers on the present experience and surroundings without any distraction.
This is parallel to Buddhist processes of nurturing awareness. But in recent years, It has been used as a psychological tool to improve a person’s skill in concentration and treat patients suffering from anxiety, stress, abuse, addiction and other medical conditions.
Many people are wind up with their emotions and thoughts about the past and future. Very little attention is given to the present moment which leaves them mostly unaware of the experience. When you are mindful, you are closely aware of the things that is within you and your surroundings without necessarily having to change things and just accept them as they are, good or bad.
History of Mindfulness
In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts to help treat his patients suffering from stress and illnesses.
This program gained recognition as an alternative therapeutic application in the modern medical world. Much of it was heavily influenced by Eastern Buddhist teachings. However, Mindfulness is often independent from any religious or cultural associations.
Research has shown that many of Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s patients who have undergone his MBSR program has definitely benefited in their overall well-being, especially for those with anxiety and depression disorder.
The only moment we are ever alive is NOW.
Jon Kabat-Zinn at the 2006 Forum for Buddhism and Medicine in Montpellier, France.
Benefits of Mindful Meditation
Mindfulness is not rocket science nor does it require one to become a Buddhist to enjoy its benefits. It is best achieved through meditation or by simply practicing it through your daily routine. Practicing Mindfulness can help achieve the following:
- Enhanced focus and concentration with precision – it improve one’s capacity to focus and sharpen an individual’s attention, which is the key to learning in life. Mindfulness helps us regulate our thought processes.
- Heightens clarity of our cognition or way of thinking – 20 minutes of Mindfulness practice daily can already boost cognitive mechanism, including the capacity in learning and memory. Some research have illustrated that Mindfulness can delay the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Combating Depression – The practice of Mindfulness keeps an individual from falling into a deep introspection which can lead to depression. Instead, it teaches them to meditate on thoughts without any judgement. It also coached them not to feed on negative thoughts or feelings that stressed them out or feel even more guilty.
- Manage Stress and Anxiety – Many studies have shown that Mindfulness can be beneficial in managing stress. The process of meditation has proven to decrease the gray matter in the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for stress, anxiety and emotional processes. Mindful people tend to show acceptance with their short existence and understands the reality of death instead of succumbing into denial.
- Minimize Sleeping Problems – Patients suffering from sleeping issues have seen tremendous improvements in their quality of sleep after undergoing an 8-week MBSR program.
If you haven’t actually tried being mindful, there’s no better time than to do it today. Before I even started with practicing Mindfulness at home, I was a total train wreck. I can’t control my thought processes which leaves me strained at work and in my relationship with people.
What I’ve learned so far from my practice is that this is a great form of meditation that helps people to declutter toxic thoughts and useless meanderings about the past and getting antsy about the future.
Being present-centered helps me to really be more attuned consciously about myself and my surroundings without preempting with what I think or feel and just let those feelings, sensations and thoughts flow naturally, no matter the outcome.
Try out this simple Mindfulness Bell exercise for starters
Focused Mind and Breathing
The Mindfulness meditation starts with sitting silently for 20-30 minutes once or twice a day. You can focus on your breath and free up your mind and body from any thought or emotions.
Closely notice the air passing from your lungs going to your nostrils as you inhale and exhale the air. You can’t help sometimes that your mind will wander. You may fall asleep during a mindful meditation.
That’s normal and you’ll learn to get back on track as you practice regularly. Some people find that adding meditation music helps with their practice.
Over time I’ve learned not to over analyze my breathing nor choreograph them to my liking. It actually helps me to become more aware about myself better and go with whatever’s happening at the present moment.
Training Yourself with Mindfulness
One time, I listened to somebody rambling about a recent breakup with her ex. I applied mindfulness by listening intently to every word she said.
From time to time, I observed changes on her facial expression as she shared her story. I paid attention to how her hands would move as she talks. Normally, I don’t do that before with my friends because sometimes my mind tends to wander a lot even while a person is talking.
This has helped me to just ‘focus’ on one activity at a time and not to multitask. Sounds simple? In reality, it’s not. I have my shares of difficulties of doing it in the beginning but I must say that it’s worth a try. The best way to experience genuine freedom from acting on impulse is by practicing Mindfulness everyday.
Other blogs on Mindfulness that’s bookmark-worthy
- Mindfulness meditation improves connections in the brain – Harvard Health Publications
Mindfulness meditation can ease stress. It can also help with physical and psychological problems from high blood pressure, to anxiety and binge eating.
- How to Meditate : Sam Harris
Sam Harris is neuroscientist. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers: The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The Moral Landscape.
- Curing Depression with Mindfulness Meditation | Psychology Today
A longer lasting solution to the spiral of sadness By Danny Penman, Ph.D.
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