Blogging · Meditation types · nonfiction

Mindfulness Meditation

Today I will be talking about Mindfulness Meditation, what it is and how to do it. This is a first in a series where I will write about ten types of meditation, explain a bit what they are and how to apply them to your life. My post on the different types can be found here.

Mindfulness meditation is a method of paying attention to your present moment experiences with curiosity, openness, and willingness to be in that specific time without judgment. It incorporates breathing sensations and teaches how to turn one’s attention back to the experience when distractions arise. This method of meditation teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. 

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To get started, all you need is a comfortable place to sit, three to five minutes of free time, and a judgment-free mindset. Remember, meditation is a practice, so it’s never perfect. You are ready to begin now just as you are!

A timer (preferably with a soft, gentle alarm) can help you focus on meditation and forget about time—and eliminate any excuses you have for stopping and doing something else. A timer isn’t necessary but it does help keep track of how long you meditate as I have found you can lose track of the time easily. Some people meditate for longer sessions, but even a few minutes every day can make a difference.

Personally, I do this type of meditation quite often, especially at night when I am trying to sleep and my mind is racing full tilt! It helps calm my mind and my body so I can fall asleep. So, how to do it…….

If you are not lying in bed trying to fall asleep, or it’s in the middle of the day, you can find a comfortable place to sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck, and back straight but not stiff. It’s also helpful to wear comfortable, loose clothing so you’re not distracted. But being that this practice can be done anywhere for any amount of time, a dress code is not required.

Okay, now that you’re comfortable, concentrate on your breathing. Become aware of your breath, feel your belly rise and fall as the air enters your nostrils and leaves your nostrils. When thoughts come up in your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them. Simply note them, remain calm, and use your breathing as an anchor. Imagine your thoughts as clouds passing by; watch them float by as they shift and change. Repeat this as often as you need to while you are meditating.

If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts—whether, with worry, fear, anxiety, or hope—observe where your mind went, without judgment, and just return to your breathing. Don’t be hard on yourself if this happens; the practice of returning to your breath and refocusing on the present is the practice of mindfulness.

As you practice mindfulness meditation, it helps to find ways to bring mindfulness into your everyday life, especially on those days when life is too busy to carve out a minute alone.  Everyday activities and tasks provide plenty of opportunities for mindfulness practice.

A few examples:

  • Brushing your teeth: Feel your feet on the floor, the brush in your hand, and your arm moving up and down.
  • Doing dishes: Savor the feeling of the warm water on your hands, the look of the bubbles, and the sounds of the pans clunking on the bottom of the sink.
  • Doing laundry: Pay attention to the smell of the clean clothes and the feel of the fabric. Add a focus element and count your breaths as you fold laundry.
  • Driving: Turn off the radio—or put on something soothing, like classical music. Imagine your spine growing tall, find the half-way point between relaxing your hands and gripping the wheel too tightly. Whenever you notice your mind wandering, bring your attention back to where you and your car are in space.
  • Exercising: Instead of watching television while on the treadmill, try focusing on your breathing and where your feet are as you move.
  • Getting kids ready for bed: Get down to the same level as your kids, look in their eyes, listen more than you talk, and savor any snuggles. When you relax, they will too. 

Regular practice of mindfulness meditation has benefits for your physical as well as your mental health. I can attest to this part. Mostly with my mental health.

  • It can help reduce stress
  • Lower heart rate
  • Help your body resist illness
  • Gives you better sleep

It’s important to remember that even a few minutes each day can be beneficial. Just a few minutes of being present can reap significant benefits. Even if you don’t do it every day, it’s a practice you can keep coming back to when you need it.

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Blogging · Meditation types · nonfiction

Meditation: What kind is best for you?

Meditation sounds like some New Age stuff but it’s been around for thousands of years. During my research, I’ve come across over a dozen different mediations. So, what is Meditation and how can it help you?

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Personally, mediation used to help me through migraines. I used to get them almost every week when I was a teenager. I didn’t know about ‘Meditation’ back then, this was in the late sixties, early seventies. Most people never even heard of meditation back then, I know I didn’t. It was later in life when I learned what I had been doing is a form of meditation that helps with pain.

Thankfully I haven’t had a migraine for many years now. I still meditate though, just for different reasons. Now, I use it to stay calm in stressful situations. It has also helped me find peace with the passing of my late husband. It’s certainly not a ‘cure’ for things but it definitely helps keep you calm and centered.

 Meditation has been shown to be helpful in taming stress and anxiety, reducing cardiovascular risk factors, managing chronic pain, and improving sleep.

I won’t go into specific details about each and every type of meditation in this post. I will write a post for each type of meditation going forward. Right now this is a sort of introduction to it.

Do you have to dedicate hours to meditation to achieve any benefits from it? NO, you don’t. Even as few as five or ten minutes will work. I have found it just takes practice. Like most things in life, if you want to become proficient in something, you practice it.

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Do you need to have a specific place to be able to meditate? NO, you don’t. That’s one of the wonderful things about this, you can literally do it anywhere! Hell, I’ve done it in the bathroom. It’s just anywhere you can find that is quiet and lets you concentrate. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor with your hands doing that “ohmmmm” thing and emptying your mind. I find it almost impossible to completely empty my mind so I believe it’s not about perfection, it’s about training our minds not to wander so much. Just sit or stand relaxed and focus inside your mind and body.

Bottom line, which form of meditation is right for you? Answer: Whichever works for you! Whichever one you will do! Relax and experiment until you come up with what feels right for you and which fits with what you need. I don’t really think there is a wrong way of doing it.

In the coming months, I will write about various different types of meditation and how they can help you. Below is a list of types of meditation I will discuss in further detail in future posts. I will also discuss what beginners can do to start! If you are interested in any particular one feel free to let me know and I will make sure it moves up the list!

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Cultivation practices
  • Guided imagery
  • Movement meditation
  • Future visualization meditation
  • Gratitude meditation
  • Forest bathing (my personal favorite)
  • Body scan meditation

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If I find any others in future research that sounds interesting I will add them to the list. Hope you will join me in discovering how many ways you can do meditation to help yourselves be the best you can be!