Mindfulness Meditation are terms we frequently hear these days. What is it? In the simplest of descriptions, mindfulness is living in the present. It is about being aware of what we are thinking and what is happening in real time. It is about accepting it without judgement.
The most common doubt is whether mindfulness and meditation are the same. The most fundamental difference is that mindfulness focuses on being aware of what you feel in the present. In contrast, meditation focuses on not being aware of distracting sensory stimuli so that the mind can move to a place beyond the here and now.
It is important to remember that mindfulness and meditation are not two water-tight terms; they are interrelated. Meditation is a practice or technique through which mindfulness is achieved. Mindfulness Meditation is a guided meditation to overcome stress. A relaxation technique that uses meditation to focus on what you are feeling, without judgement and without trying to interpret it. It mainly involves breathing methods and the use of imagery.
Health, as we know, is more than just the absence of illness. In the same way, Mindfulness relieves you of anxiety, tension, stress and all the related diseases and conditions. The benefits go well beyond helping you relax, helping in self-acceptance and building an accepting rather than a rejecting attitude.
Simple steps to practising mindfulness meditation:
– Set aside a time: Fix a time (ideally every day) wholly set apart for it (you can decide how much time you can afford to spare (as little as 3-5 minutes). It can be the time of the day that works for you. Remember, this is about relaxation. So if you cannot do it one day, don’t beat yourself up; focus on making the time for it tomorrow. You can consider setting a timer, so you are not distracted over possibly spending more time than you can afford to.
– Be comfortable: You don’t need anything special to ensure a comfortable place to sit.
– Breathing: once you are all ready to start, sit still and focus on your breathing, on the air moving in and out of your nose, on the way your tummy rises and falls with each breath. If thoughts come to you while doing this, briefly acknowledge them and focus on your breathing.
This is essentially what mindfulness meditation is about – refocusing your thoughts on your present by controlling your breathing. The trick is to notice your thoughts without getting carried away. If fear or grief, or anxiety invades the comfortable space you are creating for yourself, don’t panic; it is alright. Allow yourself to note that you feel anxious or sad, and then gently return your mind to focusing on your breathing.
Mindfulness meditation is not a goal; instead, it is a practice, which means you never have to worry about achieving a gold standard. You can start with a few minutes daily, commit to it, and watch as your life improves.