Mindfulness Meditation For Stress Relief

Mindfulness meditation means that we know exactly what is happening internally and externally at any moment. One specific method of being more mindful is through meditation. Mindfulness and meditation combine allows you to be a happier, more fulfilled and more balanced person.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way to be in the present and living in the moment. You focus on what you are doing or thinking at this moment, without worrying about the future or thinking about the past. Mindfulness can be used for so many things, from helping you to lose weight, to re-gaining your focus on important work projects. It is really important for your mental and emotional health, as well as your physical health.

Here is one example of mindfulness. If you are eating a meal, you are focused only on what you are eating, including the textures, flavors, and sensations. You aren’t watching TV or thinking about any other thoughts. You only focus on your meal. This practice can also be used with meditation.

Mindfulness is not easy to learn right away, especially during a busy day when your negative thoughts and stressful situations are are in your mind constantly. This is why you should start by also practicing meditation.

How to Start Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is a tool that can be used for a few things. For starters, it can be used as a great form of meditation that gives us a break from all the chatter and noise of our daily lives. At the same time, it can also be used as a great way to become more in-tune with our own thoughts and feelings. And finally, it can be useful for addressing flaws in our thinking and correcting them with techniques such as CBT.

If you’re interested in giving this a go though, then it might seem a little intimidating. The prospect of mindfulness is one that many people find off putting, as meditation is very often thought to be necessary linked with mysticism or with religion. Likewise, many people quickly become frustrated when they don’t see immediate results.

Here is how to start your first mindfulness session with the best chances of success.

Step 1. Breathe

The first step is simply to breathe. Breathing deeply in and out through the nose will help you to reduce stress levels by circulating more oxygen around your body and sending signals to your brain that you are in the ‘rest and digest state’. Cortisol decreases and brain activity slows.

Step 2. Concentrate on Your Senses

The next thing to do is to concentrate on your senses. This is a good way to start bringing the attention inward, so just listen out for any sounds that you normally miss, notice what temperature you are and think about the smells you can detect. Don’t ‘look’ for sounds, just let them come to you. You’ll likely find there is much more in your soundscape than you initially realized.

Step 3. Use Body Scan Meditation

The next step is to turn your awareness in even more and use something called ‘body scan’ meditation. This means that you’re now concentrating on your own body and in particular, how it feels. Start from your head and face and notice the muscles that are contracted. Move down through your neck, shoulders, arms and all the way to your toes.

Finally, return your attention to your chest and how it rises and falls as you breathe. Now you’re going to count your breaths for a while to allow the thoughts to become still.

Step 4. Let Your Mind do What it Wants

Finally, you’re going to allow your mind to do whatever it wants. That means allowing it to wander, allowing it to sit still: whatever. The point is that you are going to remain detached from the flow of thoughts and while you might notice them, you’re not going to get ‘caught up’ in them. When you notice yourself getting lost, simply bring yourself calmly back to the center.

Don’t apply any pressure on yourself during this process. Don’t expect immediate results and don’t worry if you need to stop to itch. The whole point is to just allow yourself a gentle break and the more you push for results, the less likely they are to come.

Mindfulness Meditation And Its Many Benefits

There are many health benefits to mindfulness meditation, from lowering your stress to helping with your mind’s focus, memory, and concentration. Mindfulness meditation can also help your physical health, which is something many people are not fully aware of. Take a look at some of these benefits of mindfulness meditation.

Stress Reduction

One of the top reasons people like mindfulness meditation is because it helps reduce their stress. When you start meditating and living in the present with mindfulness, you learn how to think about things differently. It isn’t going to magically get rid of all those stressful situations and people in your life, but it helps you to deal with them better. You develop a healthy coping mechanism where you understand and appreciate things for what they are, and stop dwelling on how much worse they could be.

Improved Memory

If you are struggling with memory issues, this might be because of how much you are trying to keep track of in your mind. Memory issues are often linked to negative thoughts and overthinking. When you start the bad habit of overthinking, it tends to lead to over-analyzing things as well. This is only going to make everything more stressful and frustrating for you. If you can start mindfulness meditation, you will notice that you are focusing on one thing at a time, so your memory starts to improve as well.

Better Focus and Concentration

Other cognitive functions can also be improved with meditation, including your focus and concentration. Once again, you are changing the way you think about things, developing positive attitudes like acceptance, appreciation and gratitude, patience, and non-judgment. This allows you to focus on one thing at a time, whatever is happening in the present, instead of trying to think about too many things at a time. With proper mindfulness and meditation, you are learning how to adapt to everything around you, let go of the negative emotions, and appreciate all of the positive things in your life. It is very fulfilling and improves your overall focus over time.

Lower Blood Pressure

As far as physical benefits, the first is lowering your blood pressure. This comes from a lot of the mental and emotional benefits, therefore lowering your blood pressure. Things like stress, anxiety, and lack of focus can overwhelm your mind, and actually have a negative effect on your body. When you start meditating and using mindfulness in your daily life, you will feel less stressed and overwhelmed, which can then cause your blood pressure to get a rest.

Weight Loss

Don’t forget about the benefits for eating and weight loss! Mindfulness isn’t just done in a meditation session, but throughout the day. By living more in the present, you can also focus on what is good for your body, starting with mindful eating. This is when you really think about your food choices and indulge in each meal, instead of being distracted and just grabbing any snack without thinking twice about it. Through mindful eating, you learn to notice the signs of actual hunger and not boredom or feeding your emotions. Over time, you will notice that it changes your eating habits and ultimately leads to weight loss.

Future Success

Finally, all of these benefits can help you future. You become more successful by being less stressed and more focused on the task at hand. You stop trying to multi-task and become a unitasker, which really helps you in the future.  Mindfulness meditation can become a part of almost any activity.  Incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily life will also bring with it the added benefits of reduced stress, enhanced concentration and greater overall well being.