I began practicing mindfulness meditation after an extremely contentious divorce and an exhausting custody battle.
I had tried anxiety medications like benzodiazepines, anti-depressants and sleep medications.
I realized I was just masking the pain, stress, and anxiety. I wanted to learn a coping skill that would help me focus on the present moment and allow me to practice compassion for everyone (including my ex-husband).
You may think mindfulness meditation takes a lot of time and effort, but this simple and effective practice can be performed in minutes and provides an instant calming effect.
Here are the 5 steps to begin your mindfulness meditation practice…
Reasons To Try Meditation
You do not have to be a buddhist to realize the benefits of meditation in your life.
You can easily include the practice into your everyday life — regardless of your religious/spiritual background.
There are many benefits of meditation:
- Your heart rate and breathing slow down.
- Your blood pressure normalizes.
- You use oxygen more efficiently.
- You sweat less.
- Your adrenal glands produce less cortisol.
- Your mind ages at a slower rate.
- Your immune function improves.
- Your mind also clears and your creativity increases.
Mindfulness is a mental state that enables you to stay with a calm mind. It helps you stay aware of all the physical and mental activities of the present.
Meditation is also an excellent tool for falling asleep quickly.
Try these 5 tips to start:
#1 – Start with mindful breathing.
The object of your mindfulness meditation practice is your breath. You just focus your attention on it.
Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath.
When you do that, the mental chatter you seek to quiet, will stop.
That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore and you don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.
#2 – Strive toward deepening your concentration.
Focus and concentration are very important when trying to calm yourself down.
Suppose you are breathing in, and then you think, “Oh, I forgot to turn off the light in my room.” There is an interruption.
Just stick to your in-breath and your out-breath all the way through. Acknowledge the thought and let it pass by.
By cultivating mindfulness (present moment) and your concentration, your breathing will naturally become deeper and slower, more harmonious and peaceful.
#3 – Practice staying aware of your body.
Using the mantra… “Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body.” is an easy way to bring the mind wholly back to the body, and mind and body become one reality.
In our daily lives, we are seldom in that situation. Our body is there but our mind is elsewhere.
We may be physically there, but our mind may be caught in the past or in the future, in regrets, sorrow, fear, or uncertainty, and so our mind is not there.
For example, someone may be present in the house, but he’s not really there, his mind is not there. His mind is with the future, with his projects, and he’s not there for his children or his spouse.
#4 – Focus on releasing your tension.
In a sitting, lying, or standing position, it’s always possible to release tension. You can practice total relaxation in a sitting or lying position.
While you are driving your car, you might notice the tension in your body. You are eager to arrive and you don’t enjoy the time you spend driving.
When you come to a red light, you are eager for the red light to become a green light so that you can continue. Mindfulness meditation teaches you that the red light can be a signal.
You can sit back and relax and take the ten seconds the light is red to practice mindful breathing and release the tension in the body.
#5 – Start walking mindfully.
When you practice mindful breathing you simply allow your in-breath to take place. You become aware of it and enjoy it.
The same thing is true with mindful walking. Every step is enjoyable.
Walking meditation has health benefits even beyond the benefits of sitting meditation. The slow, methodical movements relieve stress, calm the body, and focus the mind… all of which are essential for optimal health and well-being.
Many practitioners find mindful walking to be more relaxing than sitting, especially during times of high stress.
Mindful walking can help relieve arthritis, improve digestion, and reduce drowsiness after eating. When done for extended periods of time it increases stamina and strength, which are also important for overall physical fitness.
The Bottom Line…
Those who meditate regularly find it easier to give up life-damaging habits like smoking, drinking and drugs. You may find that you enjoy guided meditation over silent meditation and there are tons of free resources online that you can try.
You may even want to practice mindful meditation with others who are seeking mindfulness and compassion in their lives. Sanghas offer a safe place to practice with others. What do you have to lose?
I utilize guided meditations on a daily basis and am a member of a growing Sangha community in my area. The practice has changed my life dramatically.
See how the benefits of meditation can change your life… as they have mine.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. Source
More About Mindfulness Meditation
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you begin practicing mindfulness meditation:
- More About Benefits Of Meditation
- Benefits Of Meditation Sanghas & How To Find One
- How to Fall Asleep In Under A Minute
- Mindfulness Meditation Products To Enhance Your Practice
- Mindfulness Meditation Retreats & Resources From Plum Village
- How Mindfulness Changes Your Thinking
- Teachings Of Mindfulness Practitioner Thich Nhat Hanh