What exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment, and accepting it. Practicing mindfulness, asks for us to suspend judgement, offer appreciation and unleash our natural curiosity. It creates a gateway for our mind to approach our experiences with warmth and kindness, to both ourselves and to others.
“Our mind wanders all the time, either reviewing the past or planning for the future.” -Suzanne Westbrook.
Mindfulness practice has been bolstered by a growing body of research showing that it reduces stress, reduces anxiety, improves attention & memory, and promotes self regulation & empathy.
Clinical trials supports the effectiveness of practicing mindfulness including stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, hypertension, improved attention,decreased job burnout, improve sleep , improve diabetes control.
Let’s face it, we live in an extremely busy world. With the added pressures of social norms & ideals, combined with our day-to-day responsibilities, studies say that 8 in 10 Americans currently experience an abundance of stress in their daily lives. This can result in us having a hard time relaxing our bodies. With the added frustration of overthinking and anxiety, we are weaning away at our natural ability to calm our minds. This alone puts us at higher risks for heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Of the myriad offerings aimed at fighting stress, mindfulness combined with meditation has become one of the most results driven methods in the wellness community.
Engage your senses fully, notice each sight , touch and sound so that you savor every sensation.
Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist, was the first to document that mindfulness meditation can change the brains gray matter and regions linked with memory, the sense of self and regulation of emotions.
Suze Schwartz, CEO of Unplug Mediation in Los Angeles, says her mindfulness meditation model is changing lives. One client, a high-profile reality show producer, was sent by a fertility doctor while on her fourth round of in vitro fertilization. She took time off from work and came to meditate twice daily, which, according to Schwartz, did the trick. The woman soon had a baby whose conception she credits to Unplug.
Just a few miles away from Suze in Santa Monica, psychologist Chris Marrero has his own share of success stories. One being that through his mindfulness practice, one of his agoraphobic patients was able to cut his medication by 75 percent within six months.
When practiced correctly, mindfulness meditation can be used as a reminder to be more calm, to get more clarity and will gently remind yourself that you are doing the absolute best that you can.
Take 10, Take 20, Take 45
A daily practice will provide the most benefits. The meditation can be performed for 10 minutes per day, however 20 minutes is suggested…. long-term goal 45 minutes, for over a period of 6 months.
Easy Ways To Perform Mindfulness Meditation:
- Find a quiet space
- Using a cushion or chair , sit up straight, however not stiff. Allow your head and shoulders to rest comfortably, place your hands at the tops of your legs with upper arms at your side.
- Close your eyes. Take deep breathes and relax. Feel the rise and fall of your chest.
- Stay focused on your breathing. Be kind should your mind wander and kindly find your way back to your breathing.
Remember, a daily practice of 10, 20 or 45 minutes will be the most beneficial.
Practitioners are the first to admit the practice can be challenging. Eventually the exercise will become effortless.
Think of it as a commitment to reconnecting with and nurturing yourself. Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness for each moment. Mindfulness meditation centers the notion to being kind and forgiving to yourself.
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