What Is Meditation?
Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject, to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centres, and beyond.
Why Practice Mindfulness?
Studies have shown that practising mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits. Here are some of these benefits, which extend across many different settings. Mindfulness is good for our bodies: A seminal study found that, after just eight weeks of training, practising mindfulness meditation boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Mindfulness helps healthcare professionals cope with stress, connect with their patients, and improve their general quality of life. It also helps mental health professionals by reducing negative emotions and anxiety and increasing their positive emotions and feelings of self-compassion. Mindfulness is good for our minds: Several studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress. Indeed, at least one study suggests it may be as good as antidepressants in fighting depression and preventing relapse. Mindfulness changes our brains: Research has found that it increases the density of grey matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy. Mindfulness fosters compassion and altruism: Research suggests mindfulness training makes us more likely to help someone in need and increases activity in neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others and regulating emotions. Evidence suggests it might boost self-compassion as well.
How to Cultivate Mindfulness?
You can cultivate mindfulness through formal meditation, but that’s not the only way. Unlike formal meditation, mindfulness requires that you are focused on what is happening in your present moment. This means when we are practising mindfulness, we are not thinking about things that have happened or things that have not yet happened. It simply means to live your life as if the only moment that has any importance is the present/the right “NOW,” and you do this, moment by moment. If you haven’t meditated before and want to learn some useful beginner’s tips and instructions, download your FREE “Beginners Guide to Meditation” Today. LEARN MORE
Useful Tips To Remember When Meditating
If you feel any pain, cramping, itching, etc., Look at it with non-judgment eyes and release it because whatever you focus on will persist. Anything that is of worth will take time and dedication. Remember, nothing of worth happens overnight. Don’t be afraid of the connection with the unknown – it’s not anything to be afraid of; instead, it’s to be celebrated. Practice, practice, PRACTICE! Finding your Zen is not a selfish process; it’s a selfless pursuit. Share your journey with your community/tribe because you never know who your story will uplift and inspire.
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