Mindfulness Meditation Made SimplePublished on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 by
In my previous work, I briefly introduced you to the benefits of meditation.
Meditation can significantly increase the mind-body connection and help you to unwind. It can reveal and release emotions trapped in our bodies. And it can help to reduce stress, a key factor to living a healthy and abundant life.
Regular meditation can have a positive impact on many areas of your health, including lowered blood pressure, reduced anxiety and depression, pain relief, and improved sleep.
Roots of Meditation
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word meditate as to engage in contemplation or reflection, but there’s so much more to it. It dates to Indian practices from some 7,000 years ago. It started as a way to transform and create a fundamental connection to all living things. Over time it was adapted as a staple in other cultures and began to emphasize mindfulness, focusing on insight (vipassana) and mind-calming (samatha). These two major qualities create a clear awareness of what is happening as it happens (being present) and a state of tranquility that is experienced throughout the body.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of acknowledging the conflicting thoughts in your brain and then choosing where you’d like to focus your thoughts. You can learn to observe the thoughts as they appear and take note of any patterns or sensations that come up in the body. One of the key teachers of mindful meditation is Jack Kornfield
The goal is not to empty your mind; it’s to understand and take control of how your thoughts contribute to the way you feel. This can help you live more consciously outside your practice, instilling mindfulness, alertness, and awareness.
“If compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
– Jack Kornfield
Calm the Clutter in Your Mind
The constant mixtape playing on repeat in our minds can be overwhelming. They are not necessarily bad, but we can become consumed by these stressors. They can make us feel out of control, frantic, and inefficient. Taking a step back and quieting the mind can aid in calming us down. I get that it’s easier said than done! It takes practice to learn how to effectively meditate and begin to reap the benefits.
After the last couple of years, there have been even more stressors and uncertainties added to what we may have called “normal”. Meditation is the perfect tool. Use it to help alleviate some of this stress, to recharge your brain, and to tap into some peace. (For additional help to declutter check out this free workbook.)
5 Tips to Start Your Meditation Practice
- Start Slowly. There’s no need to jump right into a 30-minute meditation. Start with just 3-5 minutes and work your way up. It takes dedication and there’s no need to rush the process.
- Find a peaceful, comfy spot. Part of this practice is about finding stillness, starting with the body. This will be a challenge if you’re not comfortable or you’re in an awkward position. So, find a place you feel good in.
- Open or close your day with meditation. Try beginning each day or ending each day with a practice of meditation instead of pushing it off to something you’ll do later. This is a simple way to fit it into your schedule no matter what else you must do.
- Find a class. Look up classes in your area. Yoga studios are a place to start. A holistic center may also offer classes. These classes can help you establish a practice and provide a space to feel grounded.
- Find an app. We are living in a digital age where plenty of things are at the tip of our fingers. These offer an expert guide and teach techniques to form your practice. For my recommended apps, check out this article on the mind-body connection.
Bring it to Life
Our feelings of stress are situational and temporary. Remember that you are not your thoughts. A meditation practice can have a healing impact on many aspects of your life and help you move through your experiences in a calmer, kinder way.
If you’ve never tried meditation but have always wanted to, take this as a sign and give it a go!
I see you, and YOU are beautiful!
- Ponte Márquez, P. H., Feliu-Soler, A., Solé-Villa, M. J., Matas-Pericas, L., Filella-Agullo, D., Ruiz-Herrerias, M., Soler-Ribaudi, J., Roca-Cusachs Coll, A., & Arroyo-Díaz, J. A. (2019). Benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing blood pressure and stress in patients with arterial hypertension. Journal of human hypertension, 33(3), 237–247. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-018-0130-6
- “A real chill pill: the power of mindfulness in the treatment of anxiety disorders.” Presented at Psych Congress 2019: San Diego, CA; October 4, 2019.
- Zeidan, F., Adler-Neal, A. L., Wells, R. E., Stagnaro, E., May, L. M., Eisenach, J. C., McHaffie, J. G., & Coghill, R. C. (2016). Mindfulness-Meditation-Based Pain Relief Is Not Mediated by Endogenous Opioids. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36(11), 3391–3397. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4328-15.2016
- Black, D. S., O'Reilly, G. A., Olmstead, R., Breen, E. C., & Irwin, M. R. (2015). Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA internal medicine, 175(4), 494–501. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081
- Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Meditate. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved October 10, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditate
Deanna Salles-FreemanLife & Health Coach