Our tips to start Mindfulness Meditation. It all starts with one conscious breath.
With office hours and workloads increasing, technology making us available 24 hours a day, it has never been so important to look after our mental health.
By learning to train our mind, like we train our bodies, you can do things you never thought possible. This takes practice and like exercise, needs to be part of our daily routine. Think of mindfulness like taking your mind for a shower each day.
So what is mindfulness meditation, how do we do it and why should we make time to do it? What’s all the fuss about, we have never needed it before? We have also never been so overwhelmed, stressed and sleep deprived before. Imagine a tool that can help you to perform better under pressure, improve decision making, creativity and focus. A tool that increases our learning potential and our ability to switch off at night and sleep soundly. A tool that helps us live each day happier because we are present and can appreciate the little things.
It all starts with the first conscious breath, once we are aware of our breath, we can be aware of our thoughts. Once we learn to observe our thoughts, we have the ability to filter out the ones that bring stress to the body.
We all have access to mindfulness meditation and can use it everyday, you don’t have to be a Tibetan monk or living in a yurt, nor is it difficult, you just have to dedicate time to do it.
Lets give it a go now….
First things first, find a quiet place, make sure you are warm enough and start to settle in, either lying down, sitting on the floor, or upright in a chair, get comfortable. Placing your hands on your lap or by your side, close your eyes and start to observe your breath, is it light or deep, can you feel your chest or belly rise, there is no right or wrong, just focus your attention on each inhale and exhale. Start to increase the length of each inhalation, for ease silently count in your head, inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on until you reach the count of 10. If 10 is too strenuous go as far as you feel comfortable.
You can do this exercise for as little as 1 minute, that's just 10 deep breaths. it will instantly alter your state of mind for the better and lower your stress levels. Once you get used to sitting in stillness, you can start to increase the length of time you do it, don’t worry if your mind starts to wonder or you get distracted by a thought, just let the thought go and come back to your breath.
Remember the mind is supposed to think, mindfulness just allows us to distance ourselves from the thoughts in our head not remove them.
Yo can also try a guided meditation practice, there are many apps available, we recommend Insight Timer, not only does it have hours of meditations to choose from, its free too!
Once you start to practice mindfulness daily, be prepared to feel calmer, happier, have improved focus, patience, have a better skill of observing rather than reacting, oh and you will sleep better too. Those are just a few benefits, there are endless more, in fact we find it hard to think of anything mindfulness doesn’t improve.
“Meditation is a lifelong gift. It’s something you can call on at any time - Paul McCartney