What is Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness has been a hot trend in wellness as of late, serving as a potential panacea for stress- and anxiety-related conditions. It has grown as an exercise since the 1970s, first practiced by individuals seeking to better attune themselves with the world at present, and, more recently, by whole corporate offices.
As discussed previous articles about conscious living, our society stresses consumerism. Stepping away from that to be intuned with your own mental health is not only necessary, it’s radical. Mindfulness can be a part of this.
What mindfulness is has to do with controlling the body’s response to external and internal stimuli. Those participating in a mindfulness exercise allow these stimuli to occur without judgment, then let them pass, returning focus to one’s breathing. Research has shown that such meditation has positive benefits to one’s psychological and physiological wellness.
Those who wish to try mindfulness exercises for themselves may need a little prodding in the right direction. Fortunately, there are many methods to help guide the mind to a mindful state. For the sake of brevity, we’ll be listening three:
Mindfulness with Meditation
This is the most commonly accepted way to achieve mindfulness. It begins by finding a comfortable spot to sit in, then relaxing. Focus on your breathing, and allow whatever thoughts you may have to simply happen, taking note of them. Gradually return your focus to your breath. It helps to have a downloaded meditation guide playing the first few times.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation have been extensively studied. Practitioners have been recorded as having lower blood pressure, better immune response, reduced psychological distress, and some research even suggests that meditation may mitigate cognitive decline in older adults.
Mindfulness meditation may not be for everyone, however. Fortunately, there are other ways to ease yourself into the mindful state.
Mindfulness with Music
Matthew Tyler Giobbi, PhD., writing for Psychology Today, states that those who want to practice mindfulness can do so with instruments (2020). He suggests picking out an instrument (gently used so that the price is affordable) and simply using it, noting the moment when each sound begins and ends. You don’t need to be a musician, and you should not judge yourself on technique.
Art and Mindfulness
As a way to explore one’s self, art is hard to beat. Ways to incorporate mindfulness into art therapy include:
- drawing yourself realistically, noting and accepting any “flaws”
- engaging art materials with your various senses
- using art as self-expression
Be sure to note how you feel before and after exercise. Again, don’t judge yourself on technique if you can resist it!
Other Ways to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness can be found in many daily activities. It’s mainly about noticing the sensations caused by what you are doing and what you’re interacting with. Examples include walking, cleaning, and even dancing.
We All Could Benefit From More Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation is powerful enough to grow our empathy, improve our mental health, and reject hyper-consumerism. That alone can sway the tides in our fight against fast fashion.
All that’s left is to try something that sounds appealing to you. Personally, I’m going to try meditation first. We all could use a break from the craziness in the world!