What is mindful meditation?
Mindful meditation, in a few words, is about “living in the moment.” All too often, we spend our time looking backwards at the mistakes that we made in the past. If we’re not busy doing that, we spend our free time trying to predict the future and worrying about the way it will unfold. Mindful meditation, or mindfulness, suggests that we spend our time thinking about where we are, right now, in this moment, and paying attention to the way our body feels and the way our brain is operating.
Also, mindfulness emphasizes a focus on inward compassion. If we are inwardly compassionate, we do not have to spend our time beating ourselves up for mistakes made in the past or for future uncertainties for which we feel responsible. We simply need to treat ourselves as we would treat any other loved one. It is only after loving ourselves that we can truly be able to love outwardly.
How Do I Start?
It’s easy. Here are a few steps to get started on your path to appreciating and enjoying mindful meditation.
1. Establish your setting. We recommend finding a nice and quiet room in which to meditate. Light a candle and locate a cushion or pillow to sit on.
2. Sit down. Cross your legs in a comfortable position, sitting upright but not overly rigid. Let your hands lay naturally on your lap or by your side.
3. Focus on your breathing. Everything about mindfulness starts from this basic point. You need to be aware of the way that you’re breathing, in the moment, right now. You might notice that it’s a bit fast if you’ve been stressed out lately. Do not worry if your breathing seems unnatural. Just sit there and breathe in and out, thankful for the fact that you are alive and breathing in life. For the first few minutes, just try to sit there and focus on the way that you’re breathing.
4. Focus on your body. Pay attention to the way that your body feels. Every part of it: arms, feet, hands, legs, fingers, toes, stomach. Just sit there and feel how your body is feeling. Feel the joy of having a body. There might be parts of your body that you don’t like. Do not worry about these parts. Nobody is perfect. Do not worry if you have any pains in your body. Simply acknowledge the pain, and continue breathing in and out.
5. Focus on the thoughts that come to you. Your goal will eventually be to not have additional thoughts beyond the meditation. But if you are new to mindfulness, thoughts are going to cross your mind, and not all of them will be pleasant. This is OK. Many of your thoughts will be like the ones mentioned above – upset about the past, nervous about the future. Simply let these thoughts flow inside your head and flow out again. Remember that you do not have the power to change everything, and nothing changes immediately. Resolve that if you have problematic thoughts, you will be able to control the issues in your life producing these thoughts.
6. Do this for 15 minutes, stop, and repeat. As you get more used to meditating, you will eventually be able to do this for a longer period of time.
What are the benefits to this?
Studies demonstrate that this kind of meditation has several benefits, health and otherwise. Meditation reduces your overall stress and anxiety. It improves your focus on normal daily tasks. It increases the total amount of energy. Studies also suggest that this form of meditation can boost your immune system. Therefore, the more time you spend meditating, the better prepared you will be in case you encounter sickness and disease.
In today’s fast culture, it is always difficult to find a moment to sit back, relax, and let your thoughts and air flow in and out of yourself. This kind of meditation is a great way to try to reclaim some of that mental space. We recommend starting meditating today.
This guest post was written by Steve Bronson in association with Doctors Imaging. They’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care and overall mental health.
The views expressed herein are those of the author himself, and not necessarily those of any medical facility or physician. This article is intended to provide those reading it with information about matters of current interest. It should not be construed as legal or medical advice concerning a specific topic and should not be acted upon without contacting the appropriate professionals.