Mindfulness meditation practice couldn’t be simpler: take a good seat, pay attention to the breath, and when your attention wanders, return.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodelling the physical structure of your brain.
It’s not all in your head—you can practice mindfulness by sitting down for a formal meditation practice, or by being more intentional and aware of the things you do each day.
The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS?
Stress reduction is often an effect of mindfulness practice, but the ultimate goal isn’t meant to be stress reduction. The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
Mindfulness trains your body to thrive: Athletes around the world use mindfulness to foster peak performance.
Mindfulness boosts creativity: Whether it’s writing, drawing, or colouring, they all have accompanying meditative practices. We can also apply mindfulness to the creative process.
Mindfulness strengthens neural connections: By training our brains in mindfulness and related practices, we can build new neural pathways and networks in the brain, boosting concentration, flexibility, and awareness. Well-being is a skill that can be learned.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is exploring. It’s not a fixed destination. Your head doesn’t become vacuumed free of thought, utterly undistracted. It’s a special place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION?
Of course, when we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather just to do the practice.
That being said, there are plenty of benefits. Here are five reasons to practice mindfulness.
- Understand your pain. Pain is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to rule you. Mindfulness can help you reshape your relationship with mental and physical pain.
- Connect better. Ever find yourself staring blankly at a friend, partner, child, and you’ve no idea what they’re saying? Mindfulness helps you give them your full attention.
- Lower stress. There’s lots of evidence these days that excess stress causes lots of illnesses and makes other illnesses worse. Mindfulness decreases stress.
- Focus your mind. It can be frustrating to have our mind stray off what we’re doing and be pulled in six directions. Meditation hones our innate ability to focus.
- Reduce brain chatter. The nattering, chattering voice in our head seems never to leave us alone. Isn’t it time we gave it a little break?
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