What is mindfulness meditation? How to get started?
Find out all about what is mindfulness meditation, its benefits, and how to get started with mindfulness exercises.
Mindfulness meditation or mindfulness, while the term may be fairly new, the concept has existed for years. In fact, people have sought help from meditation for over thousands of years now. Often incorporated as a spiritual practice in the past, meditation is a popular practice to manage stress while attempting to incorporate all-around well-being. In fact, there is scientific backing that proves mindfulness meditation has the power to change our brain and biology in plenty of positive ways while enhancing the overall mental and physical health. In this article, we will learn about what is mindfulness meditation, its benefits, and how to incorporate it along with simple mindfulness exercises. Let’s start by understanding what is meditation and mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a very hyped-up concept of meditation. However, mindfulness is nothing but the very fundamental human ability to be mindful in the here and now. Being mindful refers to being fully present where we are, being aware of what we’re actually doing at the moment. The idea is to be aware but not too reactive or overwhelmed by the surroundings. It can be defined as moment-by-moment awareness of every thought, feeling, and bodily sensation, along with the surrounding environment, but with a very gentle, nurturing gaze. Although we all have the innate ability to be mindful, it does not come very naturally to a lot of us because of all the clutter in our heads. However, with a little practice, the mind wandering can be checked and a mindfulness state can be effortlessly attained.
When you are mindful, you are aware of what you experiencing with your senses, you are aware of your thoughts, and your emotions. It’s as if your thoughts and feelings are passing by and you are observing them. Mindfulness also incorporates acceptance. The idea is to pay attention to details without passing any judgment. Mindfulness is based on the core vision that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel in a particular moment. Another very important aspect of mindfulness is freeing ourselves from thoughts about the past and the future. Mindfulness is living in the moment, the present. While it seems like a very basic thing to do, mindfulness is very powerful. With the goal of actually awakening the inner workings of the physical, mental, and emotional states, mindfulness is life-changing.
What is meditation?
When it comes to mindful living, meditation is simply one of the many roads to it. But, when we talk about meditative practices in general, mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation. To understand, what is the difference between mindfulness and meditation, let us understand what is meditation. In very simple words, meditation can be termed as exploring. There are no fixed checkpoints or destinations. Contrary to popular belief meditation is not about turning off your thoughts or feelings. In fact, it’s practically impossible to be vacuumed or be free of thought. It’s probably because of this misconception meditation is difficult for some people. While meditation can be described in several ways. One of them can be, “To meditate is to venture into the inner workings of your mind by gradually training your attention to achieve a calm and positive state.”
Mindfulness meditation explained: What is mindfulness meditation?
We learned about meditation and mindfulness but what is mindfulness meditation? Interestingly, mindfulness meditation integrates both mindfulness and meditation, together. Mindfulness meditation requires us to simply suspend any judgment and curiously observe what’s going on inside and outside you with the utmost kindness. This popular meditation technique is based on two important notions: attention and acceptance.
Attention is basically being observant of your experiences while focusing on the present. It involves being aware of the breath, the thoughts, the feelings, along with the physical sensations of the body. While acceptance refers to being free of any judgment. That means there are no responses or reactions to the thoughts or feelings. The goal is to note and let them pass you by. When you participate in mindfulness-based therapy or a session, you are provided with the tools to put this theory into practice with the help of deep breathing exercises, yoga, or other guided lessons.
Research claims that something as simple as tuning into your thoughts and feelings can lead to a string of positive outcomes. If you are wondering what is the goal of mindfulness meditation, mindfulness meditation has the power to significantly dial down the body's reaction to stress. With consistent practice mindfulness meditation delivers the awareness of what we are feeling in the moment, this in turn helps us control our reaction and response to undesirable situations. Thereby greatly downsizing the s-word. Yes, stress! With the reduction of stress, mindfulness meditation eliminates all the side effects chronic stress comes with.
As we discussed, mindfulness naturally withholds you from overreacting or getting overwhelmed in undesirable or stressful situations. But, what does mindful meditation do? Mindfulness meditation delivers several other long-term benefits. Whether it is stress, anxiety, or depression, mindfulness meditation has the power to relieve symptoms. Not just that, mindfulness meditation also has the power to alleviate chronic pains and helo in dealing with issues like insomnia, high blood pressure (hypertension), and even serious issues like asthma or diabetes. Along with that, mindfulness meditation improves the overall outlook towards life with the inculcation of acceptance. That means, mindful meditation also helps in improving attention and concentration, instilling work-life balance, and decreasing job burnout.
Mindfulness meditation instills mental discipline, awareness, and intention. It has a way of training you to observe your thoughts and emotions while remaining objective. This instills freedom from unconscious reactions and grants control. Mindfulness as a practice is mostly about witnessing what’s occurring without attempting to change it. That’s your answer to what is the purpose of mindfulness meditation. Here are a few important benefits of mindfulness meditation.
While mindfulness meditation might sound like a complicated thing to incorporate, it is certainly not. In fact, incorporating mindfulness is incredibly easy. And now that you know what is mindfulness meditation good for, you should definitely think about it. While you can seek the assistance of guided podcasts or videos to find out what it is, it shall be the most effective if you find mindfulness classes or interventions. You can look for classes at your nearby yoga or meditation centers or you can definitely pick an online route or simply find guidance through a smartphone application. Mindfulness meditation is a mental exercise, it might take a while to sink in and actually deliver any benefits. In fact, it might take a few sessions to feel natural and be a part of your daily routine. But with just a little practice and consistency, it can help you discover a better way of life.
Mindfulness can be incorporated as a way of life. While it includes techniques like meditations and body scans, you can also incorporate it via mindful moment practices like taking your time before responding to people or situations, pausing and breathing before doing simple tasks like picking up the phone instead of rushing. The best part about what is mindfulness meditation is, that you actually need nothing, no equipment, no setting, all you need is a commitment to follow through. There is a number of ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your routine. You can always go for guided mindful meditations which can be modified to suit your specific needs. Here are other ways how you can incorporate mindfulness meditation:
What is mindfulness meditation? - A step-by-step exercise guide:
You can do this for a few minutes, every day. It is recommended to start with a 20-minute session. Apart from deep breathing, there are various different ways in which you can practice mindfulness meditation. Here are a few common mindfulness practices or mindfulness meditation exercises:
If you are fascinated by what is mindfulness meditation, you can also incorporate a few structured mindfulness exercises and guided meditations, namely:
While practicing mindfulness meditation has a wide array of benefits, it is important to understand, that it does not replace any medical or mental health treatments. Understanding what is mindfulness meditation is purely meant for you to incorporate it as an added method of management.
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‘A postgraduate in Mass Communication, Ayushi enjoys writing about fashion, skincare, and lifestyle. She's ...Read more