What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is paying attention to the present moment to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on accepting your thoughts and emotions as they come. It teaches you to observe your feelings without being harsh on yourself. It teaches you not to blame others for your feelings either. You also learn to stay in the present by not letting temporary thoughts distract you.
Studies have found that practicing mindfulness meditation improves your mental and physical health. It’s possible because by paying attention to the present moment, you are not focused on the past or future. This can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. You can improve your sleep quality and boost your immunity, too.
A formal meditation session involves focusing on bodily sensations. But you don’t need a schedule or separate space set for it. You can practice mindfulness meditation anywhere. And since it’s also a secular practice, it’s open to everyone.
Mindfulness Vs. Meditation: What’s the difference?
What exactly is mindfulness?
What exactly is meditation?
So, which one is right for you?
Both mindfulness and meditation can boost your mental and emotional health. But mindfulness is better for you if you want a flexible approach to managing your thoughts and emotions.
What do you need to practice mindfulness meditation?
Experience has shown that practicing mindfulness only requires your intention. You can do it with or without the guidance of a teacher. There are so many ways to practice mindfulness.
You don’t need to set aside your tasks to practice. You can practice being mindful along with any activity. This type of meditation combines the mind, body, and spirit for greater benefits.
One way to practice mindfulness meditation is to keep your feet flat on the floor to feel the sensations of the ground. Doing so will help you connect with your surroundings better. It will help you become more aware of what’s going on around you.
Now I’ll share some benefits of mindfulness meditation.
Eleven (11) fantastic benefits of mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation has become a practice that integrates your mind, body, and spirit. It can help you awaken spiritually —remember who and why you truly are.
Below are 11 benefits that result from this. Mindfulness meditation:
- Lowers symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Can be used with cognitive therapy to prevent relapse of depression.
- Reduces stress and anxiety, including negative emotions.
- Improves your sleep quality.
- Increases your focus and concentration.
- Helps you achieve better physical health overall.
- Improves your cognitive-behavioral functions
- Teaches you to appreciate the good things in life.
- Helps you cultivate positive relationships with others.
- Regulates your thoughts and emotions.
- Helps you respond proactively rather than reactively to life’s situations.
The effects of mindfulness exercises increase over time. To experience these benefits, you must remain consistent. Daily practice can help reduce stress. It can also help relieve anxiety symptoms, especially since mindfulness and meditation are related. The benefits double if you combine it with cognitive behavioral therapy.
However, it’s not a requirement that you be in therapy. Mindfulness is great for regulating your emotions. Or increasing awareness of your thoughts. You can experience endless benefits by combining various meditation techniques.
The different forms of mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation has many forms. All of them share the goal of focusing on the present moment. They help you become more aware of your feelings and thoughts.
1. Body Scan Meditation
Body scan meditation is a form of mindfulness meditation in which you focus your attention on your body parts. You may focus from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. You may notice sensations such as warmth, tingling, or pressure. Do not try to actively change them. Instead, simply observe them and let them go.
Body scan meditation helps you become more aware of your body. It helps you relax and let go of stress in return.
It’s best to sit or stand straight but not stiff. Putting too much pressure on your skeletal structure can impact the session. It can drain your energy by making you mentally and physically uncomfortable.
2. Breathing Meditation
Breathing meditation is a form of mindfulness meditation in which you focus on your breath. The goal is to pay attention to your breath and become aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
This type of meditation can help you learn to control your thoughts and emotions, and it can also improve your concentration.
The goal is to come back to your breath each time you feel distracted. Notice how your breath rises and falls as you inhale and exhale. Don’t worry if you lose concentration in the beginning quite often. The practice of returning your focus to breathing will improve over time.
3. Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is a form of mindfulness meditation. In this practice, you pay attention to the sensations of walking. This can include the feel of your feet on the ground. It can include the movement of your legs or your breath.
Walking meditation is a great way to get started with mindfulness meditation. It is easy to do. It does not require any special equipment.
4. The Eating Meditation
Eating can be a meditative experience if you are present. Eating meditation is an opportunity to connect with your food. Seek to experience the taste and texture of what you are eating. You can practice gratitude as you take every bite.
When you eat mindfully, you may find that you savor your food more. You may eat less. You are more aware of satiety cues.
Eating meditation is a simple practice that can help you slow down. It can help you be present and connect with your food in a deeper way.
5. Mindfulness meditation practice for anxiety
Mindfulness meditation is great for managing anxiety. To practice mindfulness meditation for anxiety, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Count every breath as you inhale and exhale slowly.
Redirect your attention to breathing whenever your mind wanders. Continue for 5-10 minutes or longer if you have the time. Although long practice sessions aren’t necessary, they are more helpful in tackling mental health issues.
6. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises help you connect with your environment with your senses. You connect by listening to sounds. You connect by seeing color. You connect by touching objects around you, and more.
Take a moment to reflect on your surroundings right now. What have u become aware of?
Getting started with simple mindfulness practice exercises
The practice of mindfulness meditation can involve so many activities. In fact, it’s so flexible that you can do it anytime with any task at hand. Below are a few ways you can be mindful and practice meditation together.
- Take a few deep breaths. Focus on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body.
- Focus on the sensations around your body. Notice any areas of tension and relax them.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions as they arise. Don’t judge or get attached to them.
- Practice saying a mantra or affirmation. For example, “I AM present,” or “I AM here now”.
- Observe objects around you with all your senses. Notice all its details.
- Find a quiet place to be in. Spend time in sitting meditation there without any visual or auditory distractions.
- Take a deep breath whenever you feel negative energy.
Practicing gratitude mindfulness meditation
Expressing gratitude is a great way to practice mindfulness. It helps you be more accepting of your present. At the same time, acknowledge what you have gone through to get here.
Give thanks even for the things that seem obvious. You could be grateful for a sound sleep before getting up in the morning. You could simply be grateful for being alive. The possibilities are endless.
When and how often should I practice mindfulness exercises?
You can do mindfulness exercises as a stand-alone anywhere and anytime.
You can practice them if you’re in a busy environment. Or if you don’t have a quiet space. The key is to bring your attention back to the present whenever your mind has wandered off.
You can keep using this sensory strategy until you feel calmer. Two minutes is fine, or go longer for 15 minutes. Maybe you’d like to do it twice or just once a day. The frequency and duration are up to you.
Three common mindfulness meditation practice questions
1. How are meditation and mindfulness related?
Meditation and mindfulness both involve paying attention to your present moment. Meditation is a practice that can improve focus and awareness of your thoughts and feelings. Whereas mindfulness as a practice involves accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Both meditation and mindfulness can help you manage stress and anxiety. People that have participated in mindfulness experience the same benefits as meditation.
2. How can I be more mindful in my everyday life?
You need to become more aware of your emotions and thoughts as they come. Redirect your attention to your breath whenever you feel negative thoughts. You can practice mindfulness meditation by turning any task into a meditative experience.
Another way to become more mindful is by spreading awareness. You’re more likely to feel energized by empowering others.
You can even help kids become more mindful. You can coach them to develop awareness of their thoughts. You can help them overcome fears of not being good enough. It’s a rewarding experience to help people become their best selves using mindful meditation programs.
3. Are mantra and zen meditation different from mindfulness meditation?
A mantra is a repeated word or phrase you chant or recite as a form of meditation. You focus your mind and still your thoughts by repeating a mantra. You’ll also find that chanting can be helpful in achieving a mindful state. It’s possible because you concentrate on the phrase and let go of other distractions.
On the other hand, Zen meditation involves focusing on the breath. It is about allowing thoughts to come and go without judgment. It’s different from a mantra as you don’t have to follow a phrase. Hence some people think it’s more effective in achieving mindfulness than using a mantra.
So we can think of both Zen and Mantra meditation as two forms of mindfulness practices. Both provide benefits of meditation depending. Do both or whichever makes you comfortable!
Recap: Using mindfulness meditation to become more mindful and reduce stress.
That’s it. You’re committing to integrating your spirit, body, and mind by learning mindfulness meditation practices. You can practice mindfulness exercises as stand-alone. Begin to practice this by redirecting focus to your breath. When you notice your mind wandering, bring your attention back to your present.
There are other popular forms of mindfulness meditation to try out. They include body scans, breathing, walking, and eating. Mindfulness may involve any activity, truly. As long as you meditate on your thoughts and feelings, and pay attention to the physical body you’re controlling.
Remember, noticing difficult emotions as part of your regular practice is fine. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Always, gently return to your breath. Feel your physical sensations. Be patient with yourself as mindfulness training improves only with time.