Living in a fast-paced world compels you to race throughout your day to keep up with everything. All this rush only makes it vital to take a break. You deserve to take a pause and let your mind heal. Sometimes it is good to sit back and let everything else pass you by. Think of yourself as a tiny leaf floating in a lake, where the only thing you can do is float. You don’t have to fight to get to shore, but simply be in the moment. It may sound silly, but you can train your mind with mental practice. Different coping tools may prove to be beneficial in stress management. Let us dive into one of those tools and get a clearer picture of what you can do to achieve a calmer, less chaotic state of mind.
Meditation is synonymous with finding peace within yourself. And mindfulness allows you to be present in a moment. Mindfulness meditation is a combination of these two practices. It helps in paying attention to the attitude and intention of your emotions. It is not about meditating for hours. But, about finding a comforting routine that is suitable for your needs and allows you to focus on your breath and accept each thought with gentle awareness. This practice may help you to de-stress and use it as a coping tool for depression, stress, and anxiety. Studies have also found it beneficial in aiding physical stress and pain. More so, prolonged practices may even help balance mental and physical well-being.
Today, this technique has a significant amount of research supporting its effectiveness. It helps relieve stress, depression, and chronic pain and may also aid in some degree of addiction. Mental health professionals even have guided lessons to help you start this journey.
How Does it Work?
The practice of staying in the present is about transformation rather than change. You redirect your attention and tune into your feelings at the moment. Leading you to become aware of your experiences; that awareness emerges from a calm mind. The survival instinct in humans creates a negative bias for the brain, keeping the mind on a constant lookout for any possible danger. And it clings to negative thoughts more than often. It focuses on training your mind to become more inclined towards positivity. Being attentive to your mental perception further reduces cognitive reactivity.
People spend months in a monastery. Or on meditation retreats to find inner peace and improve their well-being. Although, it might work for people who have the opportunity to indulge in these options. But mindfulness meditation doesn’t have to be this elaborate. There are six functions of the mind that this practice aim towards:
- Attention regulation: This involves your ability to self-check attention span and response to distractions. It refers to how long it takes you to focus or how you can disregard any irrelevant thought.
- Physical awareness: This is defined as your awareness of your movements and balance. Also known as Kinesthesia, it is the ability to recognize your body in space and the awareness of how in tune your body is with the mind when it comes to movement.
- Emotion regulation: This involves your reaction towards emotional experiences and how you manage them. It is also your aptitude of regulating your emotion for your benefit and not letting them overpower you.
- Cognitive re-evaluation: This is your ability to re-interpret a situation evoking an emotional response. It is characterized by how you can re-evaluate a problem and change your attitude towards it.
- Reconsolidation: This is your mental ability to trace back and integrate memories. It also involves the brain’s capability of recounting skills or learning and the mental state of that time.
- Adaptable self-concept: This is your ability to adapt to changes in a realistic manner. It is defined by the clarity to perceive information about yourself without judgment.
Navigating through the listed mechanism fortifies your relationship with your mental prosperity. Yet, the most important thing is to find a routine that suits you to follow these exercises.
Practicing mindfulness can offer liberation from the void of negative emotions. You let each thought pass you by instead of imposing a judgment on them. Rather than pondering over the memories, you appreciate the importance of the present. This enables you to practice gratitude. After all, it isn’t about paying attention, but how you pay attention.
When you give your mind and body the time to heal, your body’s reaction to stress subsides. You understand where your mind’s attention usually gravitates. Becoming aware of the mind’s natural state promotes new learnings. A boost in working memory comprehends this emotional response. It also becomes improbable for a cultivated mindset to relapse.
Your response to the alternating environment reflects your cognitive flexibility. And a sense of awareness contributes to steering away from pessimistic thoughts, allowing you to administer deep focus in the long run. Your self-insight empowers you to form better relationships with those around you. When you recognize your expectation, you can communicate with others. You focus on your needs, leading you to shape relationships with satisfaction. Moreover, you achieve higher morale, your intuition improves, and you reform fear modulation.
Although there are notable benefits of mindfulness meditation, the most significant of them are:
When those perceptions of yourself that conjure from negative thoughts get eliminated, it helps to reduce stress. The power to sit back and observe each passing thought grows with time. The lowered stress response reinforces your immune system. It also decreases cortisol levels and even reduces the effect of chronic pain.
Improve Physical Health
Long-term stress hinders your body’s immune system. It weakens your ability to fight against illness. Mindfulness has a positive impact on your physical well-being. The ‘fight or flight’ response is crucial for the brain to prepare for any possible danger. But, training the mind to re-evaluate the situation helps in reducing anxiety.
Your mind balances the secretion of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. A high level of these hormones elevates blood pressure. Thus maintaining the blood hormone level lowers the heart rate.
Your immune system is also influenced by hormonal imbalances. Introspection offers your body to build a viable immunity. Those who take time to meditate are more likely to recover from flu and the common cold.
Get Better Sleep
When you develop a pattern of taking your worries to bed, you lose a notable amount of sleep. Prolonged sleep disturbance affects your health. You may even suffer from fatigue and grogginess throughout the day. And, even if an afternoon nap might sound refreshing, sometimes it is not. A disrupted sleep cycle further impacts your daily routine.
Taking time before bed to unwind from your day may result in better sleep. You may start with some light breathwork, focusing your attention on your breathing pattern. This can be followed by a soothing chant or a kind affirmation. And let go of any tension that you may hold. A simple step may help you form a better sleep cycle and help with sleep issues.
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How to Practice It
If you feel ready to start your journey, there are different options for you to explore. You may look into group sessions around you that offer meditation classes. Or talk to mental health professionals about mindfulness-based intervention. It can either be an online or in-person session in both cases.
To begin with, you can start the practice by being mindful of your daily chores. Whether it is getting ready for the day, eating, enjoying a cup of your favorite tea, spending time with your loved ones, or during a workout. You should tap into your feelings at the present moment instead of thinking ahead. It allows you to cherish a meaningful moment. You start finding joy in simple things and change your perception of what you may deem burdensome. Although it might take some time to get used to, it can transform your mental state.
Once you find your rhythm, you can go ahead with a meditation session. You can break it down into simple steps to navigate through the exercise:
- Find your place: Look for a quiet, uncluttered spot in your home or workspace. This should be a place where you can sit without any bother.
- Take a seat: Get comfortable and take a seat. It may be your bed, a chair, or a mat. Just keep in mind to sit in a way that you feel grounded.
- Train your attention: Slowly move your focus towards your legs. How do they feel? Do they feel grounded? And if not, you can change your seating position. You might even want to wiggle your toes.
- Soften your body: Start by unclenching your jaw. Relax your eyebrows, and try to release the tension between them. Then, loosen your shoulders. You shouldn’t feel any stiffness in them.
- Straighten your posture: Now, you may want to sit in a more upright position. You can follow your body’s natural curve and relax. Your head should not feel heavy but relaxed on your shoulders.
- Position your arms: Let your arms rest on your legs. Or let them relax by your sides. Try not to fidget and let them settle.
- Lower your head: Allow yourself to ease into the practice. Drop your chin slightly, so it doesn’t strain your neck and lower your eyelids. You may even go ahead and close them. But it isn’t necessary.
- Take a pause: Take a moment to relish the calmness.
- Notice your breath: Follow how each breath feels. Try taking deeper breaths. Inhale, take a pause, and then exhale. Redirect your attention towards how the body moves with each breath. Pay attention to your belly and your chest’s rhythmic rise and fall.
- Let your mind wander: After a while, you may notice that your attention has shifted. You are no longer focusing on your breath. It’s okay for your mind to wander. You can sit back and observe your thoughts.
- Become a bystander: Remind yourself that your thoughts don’t control you. It is the opposite. You have the authority to detach yourself from your thoughts. Sit back and observe how different your musings are. Remember that you can permanently shut down any negative thoughts or memories.
- Get back to the breath: Drive your attention back to your breath. If you realize that your mind is returning to those thoughts, do not be harsh about it. Don’t pass judgment on them, and be kind to your mind.
- Open your eyes: When you feel ready, gently open your eyes and lift your gaze. Soak at the moment. Listen to the sounds from your surroundings. Notice how you feel in the moment. Is it any different? And if not, then it is not a bad thing. It may take longer. Meditating is not about perfecting it as an art form. It is about giving yourself a chance to disconnect. Eventually, get back and continue with your day.
You may lose track of time. You must give yourself plenty of time to switch back from a calm mental state. Consider setting a soft-tuned alarm or timer to bring your attention back.
Get Started With a Trusted Therapist on Docvita Today
Practicing mindfulness meditation sometimes may take longer than you like. In that case, it is always better to consult a mental health professional. You don’t have to fret over visiting a therapist or not finding enough time for an in-person session. At Docvita, we focus on your choice above anything else. You have the authority to choose from our team of highly qualified therapists. They are experienced and compassionate professionals prepared to cater to your individual needs. You can find a therapist who you think can help you the best.
Booking a session with us is as easy as it can get. You can book an online session with any one of the mental health professionals from our team by visiting our therapist page. Shortly after your booking is confirmed, a care executive from our team will reach out to you. From there, we will take care of you and your sessions. The executive will further remind you about your sessions and provide you with meeting links. You just need to be present on time for your session while in your safe zone. Book your appointment today!