Many times in our lives, we have faced stress. It would not be an exaggeration to say that stress is becoming a part of our lifestyle. The adverse effect of this unwanted strain can result in unpleasant behavior. In a way, this can trigger similar reactions from others. This can also be a trigger for troubles in relationships, both personal and professional. The question that arises now is- whether you can avoid these unwarranted troubles. The answer to that is “yes.” You may indeed have a much more peaceful lifestyle with the help of mindfulness. Let’s understand this term in detail.
As the name suggests, “mindfulness” implies the state of our mind. The dictionary defines it as “a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.” Simply put, mindfulness is a technique designed to make our minds and body focus on the present.
For the curious minds eager to know who coined this term, it was Thomas William Rhys Davids in 1910. He was a well-known Buddhist scholar who founded the Pāli Text Society. This concept was then made famous by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He devised a concept of stress reduction based on Thomas’ idea. This has finally evolved into present-day mindfulness.
This idea was started as a stress-reduction program at the University of Massachusetts to treat chronically ill patients. The program was formally named “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction,” or MBSR. It so happened that the program became a success and is now adopted in various institutions. These include educational institutions, hospitals, prisons, and even sports academies. A standard MBSR program may be eight weeks long. If this program has gained wide popularity, it would most likely be because of the potential benefits of mindfulness. In many ways, the effects of constantly practicing this idea may also prove beneficial to you. Here is a sneak peek at the positives that this can offer.
Keeps You Engaged
The more you practice it, the more you tend to give the best in your work. Often, it so happens that you’re involved in work that you do for your namesake. Such activity may affect your motivation and morality. Here, a mind trained in mindfulness meditation comes into play. You can get engaged when you can focus on any action you do. With the right focus, you get the right engagement. This would boost your motivation and productivity.
Benefits Your Physical Health
A wholesome physique is what we aspire for in the long run. There is a saying- “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” which signifies the importance of a healthy body. The fact is — a robust body and mind are a cycle on their own. When the mind is healthy, you get the urge to stay fit, and vice versa.
The first step to entering the cycle is to get your mind motivated for a healthy body. Once you enter the cycle, you get a life that is programmed to be healthy. With regular practice, you may experience significant changes in your body. This may include lower blood pressure and a better-performing heart. A clear mind may be able to think and act with better coordination with the body.
Helps Mental Health Issues
With regular practice, you are also likely to experience mental relaxation comparable to no other feeling. At times, you may have noticed that you may not be able to think freely when you are stressed. This might contrast with when you are relaxed and free of stressful thoughts. This is a simple illustration of the adverse effect of stress.
A simple, thoughtful method like relaxing the mind can help you relieve your strain. As per a study by Chambers et al. (2008), people who meditated regularly experienced positive thoughts. They also experienced less stress compared to their non-meditating counterparts.
Strengthens Your Relationships
A strainful thought can cause a strenuous relationship. On the other hand, a clearer mind can help build a strong foundation for your everlasting relationship. You can achieve this through a relaxed mind. A calm mind can do wonders that you can only imagine. That may include getting ideas to improve your relationship satisfaction.
Once you get the best, suitable idea, make it work in your relationship. Use it to have a stronger bond and to connect better with the people around you. This is one investment that may yield a lifelong result.
Improves Your Memory
Many of us may tend to associate memory with the mind. It may be because people associate thoughts with the mind. Several studies, including Chambers et al. (2008) and Jha et al. (2010), show that people who practice calming the mind may experience better working memory.
Expanding the capacity for recall can have several positive effects on us- socially and physically — in terms of impact on the brain. Certain research claims that people who practice meditation may develop a larger hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory function.
It is no secret that people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other identities within the LGBTQ+ spectrum often face unique challenges in their lives. In addition to the usual stressors and difficulties that all people experience, they...
How to Get Started
Almost all new things might sound complicated or easy before you experience them. Starting your journey to experience a delightful mind may also sound similar. Some of you may feel the exercise is too easy or too challenging. The catch here is to try. You may understand the true essence only when you decide to give it a shot.
How can you do that? By focusing. Now, there may be several ways to develop concentration. For instance, you can chant a name and focus on breathing, apart from many other techniques. You may also follow certain physical activities, including yoga and similar exercises. Once you get to establish concentration, you need to observe your thoughts. Be it positive or negative, let the ideas flow without any judgment.
The next quest is to avoid the temptation to get hooked on any particular thought or sensation. This can include your thoughts on your past actions or your future. Apart from thoughts, it would help if you controlled your sensations or emotions. You must let the thoughts grow and flow and then keep observing them.
Now comes the time to discover self-realization. Once you observe, you may try to figure out your mental habits. Separate them based on their effect on you. There may be certain habits or thoughts that cause you to feel better. There might also be some that can cause you to feel bitter. Continue monitoring those.
But then, let us face it- some of you may not feel relaxed with the process. That doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong. It is because the process grows on you over time. You may realize that you are getting closer to self-awareness and self-realization with time.
After this, you need to accept yourself for who you are. This would also mean you need to get comfortable with your thoughts and habits. To sum it up, what would be better than to be kind and forgiving to yourself?
Is practicing a calm mind that easy? It might be, provided you keep in mind a few points:
- Wandering of minds in terms of thoughts and senses is not uncommon. Understand that your thoughts can, at times, escape to other areas. That is a natural phenomenon and is bound to happen. When that happens, you must bring your mind back to the purpose, focusing the sensations and thoughts on the present.
- Practice is an exercise that is next to none. The consistent practice may result in the desired positive outcomes.
Now that you have the essence, let us try out some simple exercises on the practice of mindfulness that you can do on your own.
- This is the simplest and the most informal form of practice. All you need is a comfortable position and a place to your liking or any place where you feel like meditating. Once you are comfortable, concentrate on your body and its sensations and movement.
- The focus now needs to be on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose. As you do, feel the air flowing through your nostrils and to your lower belly. Try to expand your abdomen with the air that you inhaled. Now, exhale through your mouth slowly. Feel the sensation with each cycle of breathing. Continue the same activity with the focus and involvement of your senses.
- When you feel that your thoughts have started moving elsewhere, bring them back. Let your thoughts be on the sensations that you are experiencing.
If you have more time and are looking out for a more formal approach, you can try the following method:
- Choose a place that is calm and relaxing for you. An area with a straight-back chair may seem ideal. If you prefer to sit on the floor with crossed legs, that would be good too.
- Get your comfortable seating position. A straight seating position would be preferable. You can choose to keep your eyes closed for better focus.
- Breathe in with your nostrils. Get to feel the air through your stomach and the lower belly. Expand that area with the air you took.
- Now exhale the air with your mouth and feel your belly contracting. Once you start knowing your sensations, expand your concentration on your surroundings. Become aware of the sounds and activities and your thoughts.
- Let the thoughts and ideas flow into the mind. Observe them without any judgment. And when you feel you are losing self-control over your thoughts, focus back on breathing. Repeat the cycle a few more times to get the feeling of a satisfied mind.
There is no time frame for practicing this exercise. But as a rule of thumb, and from other practitioners’ experience, a duration of 20 minutes may be ideal for your mind to cool down. Also, there is no specific timetable for practicing this technique. You may do this activity in the morning (which may be seen by many as the ideal time to meditate), after stressful work, or at any time of your choice.
You need to remember that there is no right or wrong way of practicing this technique. All you need to do is to follow the guiding principles, and you are good to go.
Seek Mindfulness Counselling from a Therapist with Docvita Today
If you are looking for the best counselors to guide you with mindfulness meditation practice, we have a feeling that we can be of help to you. At DocVita, we have trained and certified counselors with a proven track record.
Our specialists can guide you through the entire process. All you need to do is visit our page and book your first appointment today!