In this blog we will answer the question, ‘what is mindful meditation?’ and discuss the various ways of indulging in it to alleviate anxiety.
‘Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.’ Meditation is letting the peace take over and emanate from within, to enlighten the thoughts and emotions of the being. It is a type of meditative therapy.
In a busy world that we live in, we do not have time to savor the moment. Robert Frost pointed out to this very reality in his famous poem, ‘stopping by the woods on a snowy evening’
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
This takes our attention to the fact that we do not take the time out to enjoy even the small things around us. In such a hustle and bustle, there is no room for stopping by and catching our breath, or looking around to the things that although seem ordinary, hold a lot of meaning if attention is paid to them.
The motive of meditation is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional and physical processes.
What is MIndful Meditation?
Mindful Meditation is letting out our curiosity and halting all kinds of judgements. According to Jon Kabat Zirin. Meditation is befriending ourselves.
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches us to slow down our racing thoughts, evading negativity, and calming both the mind and body.
Mindfulness techniques can vary, but in general, mindfulness meditation involves a breathing practice and awareness of body and mind. Practicing mindfulness meditation doesn’t require any items for preparation, just a comfortable place to sit, few minutes of free time, and a judgment-free mindset. To put it simply, it means observing one’s thoughts and feelings without being judgemental, without labeling them as good or bad.
Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
Mindfulness helps us to create a space for ourselves, we need to focus when we are doing the following activities:
- Brushing teeth: Feel the feet on the floor, holding the brush in your hand, and the movement of your arm moving up and down.
- Driving: listen to soulful soothing music, try to relax your hands on the steering wheel.
- Washing Dishes: feel the warm water on your hands, the bubbles, and the sounds of the clanking pans.
- Doing laundry: Pay attention to the smell of the clean clothes and count your breaths while folding laundry.
- Exercising: focus on your breathing and the way your body moves.
- Relax with your kids: listen to them, cuddle them and try to feel their hands and listen to the sound of their voice. When you are relaxed, so will your kids be.
6 Ways to Fit Your Meditation Practice Into Your Day
- Take a seat. Find a quiet and calm place to sit.
- Set a time limit. Initiate from 5 or 10 minutes.
- Notice your body. Adopt a posture that is comfortable for you so that you may be able to maintain that for the duration of the activity.
- Feel your breath. Focus on your inhalation and exhalation.
- Notice when your mind has wandered. Whenever your mind wanders off, focus it back on your breathing.
- Non-judgmental attitude. Do not obsess over your racing thoughts, keep an attitude pure of any judgements.
Mindfulness – A Stress Annihilator
Mindfulness can alleviate stress. It helps the person to focus on his body and the movement of his body at any given time in space. Thoughts tend to enslave us, mindfulness helps us to break free of these. Instead of paying attention to the continuous tirade of thoughts, in mindfulness, we focus on other bodily functions and sensations.
This helps to break through the stress that downs on us and annihilates the thoughts that induce stress in the first place.
It is not that if we meditate for only a longer period of time, then only we can get rid of our anxieties. This may not be the case. A focused and targeted meditation of 5-10minutes or even 15 minutes can do wonders as well.
There have been cases where people have been unable to stop their thoughts even while meditating. The great news is that meditation isn’t about stopping your thoughts, says Megan Monahan, author of “Don’t Hate, Meditate.” “As long as you have a pulse, you’re going to have thoughts,” she says.
The goal is not to stop your thoughts but to get more comfortable resting in “witnessing” the thoughts.
“It’s almost as if you’re overhearing a conversation that you’re not getting involved in,” Monahan explains. “And when you notice that you’ve gotten involved in the thoughts in your mind, in the sounds around you or the physical sensations, you find your way back to your point of focus.”
What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?
“Our life is shaped by our mind. We become what we think.” Buddha.
Therefore, our mind matters most and shapes our existence.
During the meditation it does not seem as if it will have any benefit. But later on in practical life and relationships the effect will be there. Patience develops because of the focus that we partake during mindfulness meditation.
- Mindfulness improves well being
Mindfulness meditation increases the capacity of the human mind to engage in diverse activities and deal with adverse events in life. Less anticipation of future events and lesser indulging in past events, is the core of how mindfulness improves a person’s well being.
It helps to clear the clutter in the mind.
Self love and motivation is instigated, an idea of doing things right propels the mind to engage in constructive agenda.
- Mindfulness improves physical health
A healthy mind leads to a healthy body. Therefore, decluttering the mind is just like detoxifying the human body of unwanted and unnecessary waste that will make the body unhealthy. It has been reported to treat heart disease, gastrointestinal problems. It has also reduced chronic pain and improved the sleep cycle.
- Mindfulness improves mental health
Mindfulness improves the mental health by getting rid of stress, anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Mindfulness helps to accept all emotions and feelings, no matter negative or painful. It avoids reaction to them. This reaction leads to avoidance and develops an aversion to the painful emotions.
When aversion is rooted, then the faculties to deal with any similar emotion fails. It also improves concentration and attention, thereby, enabling the mind to experience the now, rather than the past or the future.
Cognitive efficacy includes ignoring emotional distractions, as well as distractions that are related to the judgmental attitude of those around us.
Interpersonal benefits include improvement in relationships, the way we communicate with one another. But it will not take place without the identification of our own emotions in the first place. It also gives rise to empathy, where we understand emotions of others’ well, so that we can respond to them positively.
This aids us in resolving the conflict situation.
Professional competency is at a high when people indulge in mindfulness meditation. Higher job satisfaction and lower job stress is the result of a good mindfulness practice.
During the time that one set aside, perform one of the following exercises (Davis & Hayes, 2011): a body scan, deep breathing, or mindful meditation.
During the body scan exercise, focus inward on your body and the way that it feels. Develop an awareness of sensations in your body. Breathe in deeply, and remain aware of your bodily sensations without trying to change them.
During this exercise, the participant is guided through three points where they become aware, focus their attention on their breathing, and extend their attention. Focusing on one’s breath is meant to act as an anchor.
Focus on the activity and not on thoughts, stretch your mind to take in all that is happening to you in the now.
Use breathing as an anchor of your thoughts. Keep the breaths in mind and relish in the sensation of breathing.
In this blog we have answered the question, ‘what is mindful meditation?’ and discussed the various ways of indulging in it to alleviate anxiety.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
The difference between mindfulness and meditation is that, mindfulness means focusing on something, meditation means focusing on nothing.
Does mindfulness actually work?
Yes. MIndfulness works very effectively if we keep practicing it regularly.
How long should I do mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation should be carried out for 5-10 minutes on a daily basis.
Does mindfulness work for anxiety?
Mindfulness works very well for anxiety and alleviates it by being open to our emotions.
Titles to Read
- Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday by Matthew Sockolov
- Mindfulness for Insomnia: A Four-Week Guided Program to Relax Your Body, Calm Your Mind, and Get the Sleep You Need by Catherine Polan Orzech MA LMFT , William H. Moorcroft PhD , et al.
- Meditation for Kids: 40 Activities to Manage Emotions, Ease Anxiety, and Stay Focused by Tejal V. Patel
- The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day by Andy Puddicombe