11 Reasons Why You Should Try Mindfulness Meditation and How to Do It!
Stress can interfere in all areas of our lives, from caring for our children or relating to a spouse and even preventing productivity at work. There is a tool called mindfulness meditation that may be the answer you are looking for right now to reduce your stress overload.
Mindfulness meditation is a non-sectarian form of meditation that developed from an old Buddhist practice known as Vipassana or Insight Meditation. It develops the skill of paying attention to one’s inner and outer experiences by utilizing acceptance, compassion, and patience.
We all have the mindfulness quality already inside us; it just needs to be cultivated so that we can become aware of the inherent powers we harness.
The intentional practice of mindfulness allows us to pay deliberate attention to the moment, reducing stress and becoming more present in our own lives.
Daily practice of mindfulness meditation promotes inner calmness, stability, and non-reactivity of the mind.
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation?
Here are 11 of the top benefits of mindfulness meditation:
- Lowers stress and decreases the levels of cortisol – the stress hormone
- Increases axonal density and protective myelin tissue in the brain
- Helps the brain process emotions and pain – allowing you to feel focused and relaxed
- Increases cortical thickness in the hippo campus to improve memory and learning
- Reduces the severity and duration of colds and acute respiratory infections
- Lowers depression risks and often works as well or better than antidepressants
- Helps you sleep better and increases energy
- Supports weight loss and smoking cessation goals
- Enables you to feel more compassion towards others
- Increases body and self-awareness
- Improves interpersonal relationships
How Can Mindfulness Meditation Help Me?
Imagine a situation that would normally cause you stress, but instead, you find yourself taking a deep breath and reacting in a calm, thoughtful way. Your ability to handle the situation rationally, without anxiety, fear, or worry will transform your life and the lives of all those around you.
Perhaps the best aspect of this is the simplicity of the process. You need only a few minutes a day, and it is even possible to practice these techniques while sitting in a car at a red light or waiting for school to let out.
How to Begin a 30-Second and a 5-Minute Mindfulness Meditation
For the 30-second exercise, you do not need to do anything special. Watch the video below and it will demonstrate the exercise.
For the 5-minute mindfulness meditation, pick a quiet spot where you can be undisturbed for five minutes. You can play soft, instrumental music in the background during this meditation if you like.
- Sit up straight – assume either a crossed leg position on a cushion on the floor or sit in a straight-backed chair
- Rest your hands palms up on your thighs
- Focus on taking slow, deep breaths
- Gently touch and hold your thumb and index finger together for one minute while focusing on the breathing and the touch sensation
- Repeat with each subsequent finger – clearing your mind of all thoughts but what you are doing
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This post originally appeared on our July/August 2017 Magazine