Mindfulness is the ability to be completely present and aware of ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, and not to be overwhelmed by our surroundings. Even though it sounds simple, the actual act of becoming conscious of oneself and one’s thoughts is extremely difficult.
“The point of meditation is to keep the mind free of confusion”, emphasizes author and meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein. According to her, meditation is a way to calm our nerves, to help us to work out our own internal psychological dramas, and keep our minds clear. It’s even good for your blood pressure.
Bombarded with duties and obligations, we’re always thinking about what’s around the corner, or what’s around the next twelve corners, instead of appreciating the moment. It’s plain sailing to disconnect from the present and drift away to some other time and some other place. What takes real effort is to feel at peace in the now.
In the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
Mindfulness liberates us from the “someday I will be happy” trap: “Once I get my dream job, I’ll be happy” or, “Once I buy an apartment, I’ll be happy”. The problem with this way of thinking is you’re always going to have problems, even when you’ve reached your goal. The only way to be truly happy is to realize that whatever we get-we can lose. However, the silver lining is that we can never lose what’s inside of us.
If you’ve never meditated before, these tips will help you on your meditation journey.
- Select a Location
It’s best to begin meditating in a completely quiet environment. If you’re surrounded by too much noise, your brain will struggle to take in the moment.
- Get Comfortable
Although many people insist on sitting in the traditional meditation pose, that’s not comfortable for everyone. If your physical discomfort is distracting, change your positionin a way it suits you.
- Take aDeep Breath
Close your eyes and just listen and feel your breath- or some say “follow” it. Inhale, hold your breath for a few counts, and exhale slowly. During times of stress and anxiety, taking a moment to breathe and think can change how you feel about your day.
- Release Your Thoughtsand Focus on the Present
When you find that you are lost in a thought while meditating, for example:“ What have I planned fortomorrow?”, or if you feel an emotion like sadness or anger, simply dismiss it, like letting go of a balloon, and return yourfocusto the breath.
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques You Can Try Today
- Relaxation Breathing
The aim of relaxation breathing is to lower the heart rate and blood pressure quickly. All you need to do is close your eyes and take a deep breath in for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of eight. Repeat five times.
- Mindful Breathing Meditation
When doing this exercise, we use the breath as an object of meditation. After practicing mindful breathing, you’ll find it easier to focus on your breath in your everyday life, which is an important skill to combat stress and anxiety. You can do this while standing, but preferably you’ll be sitting in a comfortable position. Beginby counting your inhales and exhales from one to ten, and then count backwards. Repeat this cycle five times.
- Body Scan Meditation
The point of body scan meditationis to relieve tension in the body and to help you develop a mindful awareness of your bodily sensations.
Sit in a comfortable position. Follow your breath and when ready, bring your awareness to your toes. Then, with your mind travel up your feet to your knees, thighs, hands, abdomen, and so on. When you notice an area of discomfort, breathe into it, relaxing on the out-breath.
To help work mindfulness into your everyday life, the Jinglow app is a great way to ease into a more mindful way of living. You can also try Breethe or Omvana and wide range of specialized meditation playlists.
Marquis Matson is a blogger, entrepreneur, and writer at Jinglow. Jinglow empowers you to customize your mindfulness experience, change your thinking, reduce anxiety, relax, and motivate you to be the best you can be.