Mindfulness meditation is a mental exercise to quiet your thoughts and fears. Dating back to the sixth century BC in India, mindfulness meditation is an ancient form of alternative medicine. It’s derived from the Buddhist meditation called Vipassana, or “special seeing.” Mindfulness meditation involves deliberately paying close attention to your senses and surroundings. It’s designed to restructure your brain to be more mindful of your emotional and physical state. In this article, a fitness trainer from Buffalo, New York, Christopher Lee, shares his tips on becoming mindful even if you are an absolute beginner.
Becoming more self-aware and fully present in your life is the goal of mindfulness meditation. It uses breath work to achieve extreme calm and focus. Deep breaths silence external noise and keep the mind from wandering. Mindfulness meditation may seem difficult to novices, but it’s an easy-to-learn skill that anyone of any age and fitness level can master.
Benefits of Engaging in Mindfulness Meditation
Being mindful provides a wide range of whole-life benefits. Mindfulness meditation reduces stress by stopping the downward spiral of negative thoughts. People with anxiety learn to avoid the “what ifs” by concentrating on the here and now. Lower stress levels lead to stabilized blood pressure (BP) readings. Improving your BP can protect you from heart disease and stroke. According to The Harvard Gazette, researchers measured brain differences in mindfulness meditation practitioners. Particularly, the cortical region of the brain got thicker. This slows the effects of aging and even reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mindfulness meditation is an effective way to manage depression symptoms. In 2014, Johns Hopkins researchers concluded that mindfulness meditation is comparable to antidepressant drugs. Mindfulness meditation banishes negative feelings for an all-natural mood boost. Practitioners often have less trouble sleeping and concentrating at work or school. People who meditate are generally more confident and resilient to bullying. Mindfulness meditation sessions will increase your energy to become more productive. Hyper-focused minds can learn and retain information better. Mindfulness meditation may also build up a tolerance for chronic pain.
Beginner’s Instructions on How to Meditate
Mindfulness meditation is a simple, short practice of five to 25 minutes that you can’t get wrong. Begin by picking a room in your home that’s quiet and uncluttered. Take a seat on the floor or in a straight-back chair if needed. Comfortably cross your legs and keep your knees level with your hips. Double-check your posture to make sure your shoulders are back, and your spine is naturally straight. You may want to do some stretches to find a good position. Place your arms parallel to your body and relax your hands on your folded thighs. Lower your eyelids while dropping your chin and facing forward.
Now you’re prepared to focus internally and clear your mind. Draw your attention to the physical sensation of each inhale. Hold a deep breath then exhale through your nose or mouth. Notice your chest rising and falling. Follow each breath bringing life into your lungs. Inevitably, your mind will wander away to pressing thoughts. Don’t criticize yourself when your mind strays. Gently return your attention to your breathing without judgment. It’s normal for the mind to race, but practice observing your thoughts without engaging them. Dismiss the wayward worries that enter your noggin. When your time elapses, gently open your eyes. Pause to take stock of how your body feels. Finally, make a mindful decision of your next action.
Tips for Common Mindfulness Meditation Problems
Every beginner is bound to make some mindfulness meditation mistakes. Stay positive, and keep trying! Getting stuck in your head and feeling like you’re failing will seriously derail your practice. Allow your brain to stop fretting. Instead of wasting time fighting your mind, take notice of your thoughts. Once they’re recognized, let the ideas fly away as you focus on your breath again. Trust that practice will help you become more disciplined. Mindfulness meditation masters can eventually keep their minds consistently relaxed.
Skipping mindfulness meditation sessions can hurt your self-improvement progress. You won’t meditate like a pro until you invest in practice. Establish a set time during your daily routine for mindfulness meditation. Early in the morning is a great, quiet time to practice. Right before bed is another good time to avoid being rushed. Having a time and location designated for meditation can keep you faithful. Developing the right frame of mind will do the same. Make mindfulness meditation fun by smiling. Practice shouldn’t feel like a chore you avoid. Smiling will release happy endorphins to relax you and make you look forward to meditating.
Humans were built to move, so it’s natural to get antsy when sitting still and meditating. If you’re feeling jittery, exercise before mindfulness meditation—warm-up your body by practicing light yoga. Choose asanas, or poses, that remove restlessness from your limbs. Going for a walk or swim could prepare you for mindfulness meditation. Dancing might also make you feel lighter. Getting your blood circulation moving can allow you to sit peacefully for longer. If discomfort is making you agitated, change your location. Use a pillow or cushion to soften your seat. Practice on a soft carpet rather than hardwood floors. Make your comfort a priority to stop painful distractions.
Overall, mindfulness meditation will help you achieve a deep state of relaxation. There isn’t a right or wrong way to practice mindfulness meditation. It’s all about discovering inner peace and de-stressing your brain. Repeating short mantras like “ohm” may make focusing easier. Try using guided visualizations to concentrate on an image in your mind. Shifting your attention to different parts of your body can boost self-awareness too. Be adventurous by using different meditative methods to achieve calmness. Starting slow with five-minute sessions and working yourself up to longer times is fine. Beginners who jump into mindfulness meditation without fear will have a fulfilling self-improvement journey.
About Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee, originally from Buffalo, New York, is a certified personal trainer. Mr. Lee helps his clients build muscle and improve their overall fitness. Christopher supports his clients as they revamp their health and fitness routines, increase their metabolism, and get stronger. His exercise programs and training sessions are designed to help clients build strength, athleticism, and agility so clients can enjoy the activities and sports they love pain-free.