Meditation is one of the easiest ways to boost your mental health – and you don’t have to be spiritual to try it! All it requires, in fact, is a quiet place where you can comfortably sit or lie down. You may also find it helpful to follow along with an audio program or app while you’re first learning how to meditate, but once you get the hang of it, all you need is your own mind and body. There are many different kinds of meditation, each designed to help your body focus on particular areas of wellness like physical relaxation, mental calmness or increased focus.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of present moment awareness. It is about learning to focus your attention on the present moment and letting go of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings so that you can manage them in a healthy way. For example, when someone is feeling angry, they might find themselves focusing on how unfair it was for their partner to make such an off-hand comment rather than looking at what led up to the anger, or whether there are better ways to respond. By being mindful, they will have a clearer understanding of their own emotions and be able to deal with them more appropriately. When people meditate, their mindfulness skills naturally improve over time. One study found that after eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training, people had increased activity in regions of the brain linked to regulating pain and emotion processing. They also reported less anxiety and depression symptoms. Another study found that people who practiced mindfulness experienced changes in levels of cortisol, a hormone released during periods of stress which has been linked to depression. They also showed increases in self-compassion and empathy towards others.

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

  1. Helps to regulate emotions
  2. Aids in focus and concentration
  3. Reduces stress and anxiety
  4. Enhances self-awareness
  5. Promotes well-being , mental health, and spiritual growth
  6. Improves sleep quality
  7. Increases positive feelings
  8. Strengthens immune system
  9. Lowers blood pressure
  10. Improves heart rate variability
  11. Gives clarity of thought
  12. Eases symptoms of depression
  13. Increases creativity
  14. Promotes better relationship with others

How Can You Practice Mindfulness in Daily Life?

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and can be applied to any activity. To be mindful, simply focus your attention on what you’re doing and be aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present moment. It’s normal for your mind to wander–the key is not to judge yourself for this. You may want to set a timer so that you don’t have too much time between meditation sessions. Find what works best for you! Whether you meditate by focusing on your breath or silently repeating a mantra, try different techniques to see which one is most helpful for improving your mental health.

Mindfulness Exercise #1 – Being Present In One Moment

If you’re like most people, your mind is always racing, thinking about the past or worrying about the future. But what if I told you that there’s a way to quiet your mind and live in the present moment? That’s where meditation comes in.

Meditation teaches us how to focus on our breath and be aware of the thoughts and feelings we have at any given time. When we learn how to do this, we are able to accept ourselves for who we are instead of constantly beating ourselves up for not being perfect.

One way to incorporate mindfulness into daily life is by observing one of these five things whenever they happen:
1) When you’re eating;
2) When someone speaks to you;
3) Whenever something happens that worries or upsets you;
4) Whenever you feel joy or excitement;
5) Whenever something good happens.

These are moments when you naturally become more mindful, but if you make an effort to also pay attention in other moments, like when someone is speaking to you or when you eat, it will help promote self-awareness and lead to better emotional regulation. These simple tasks are a great place to start with mindfulness because they happen throughout our day-to-day lives.

Mindfulness Exercise #2 – Embracing Change

In this exercise, we’re going to practice mindfulness by embracing change.

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Now, bring your attention to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations around you.
  4. Accept whatever is happening in this moment, even if it’s not what you wanted or expected.
  5. Repeat these phrases to yourself as you notice any thoughts that come up about what’s happening now: This too shall pass. Let go. It’s okay. I am enough. I accept and embrace.
  6. Bring your attention back to the moment and repeat steps 3-5 until time is up.
  7. Open your eyes when you’re ready and come back into the room.
  8. Take some time to reflect on what happened during this meditation exercise before moving on to the next one.

How To Stay on Track?

Make a conscious effort to reflect on your feelings. Do you feel overwhelmed, tense, or relaxed and easy going. Be honest with yourself about whether you find it easy or difficult to make time for yourself and to be mindful. If you particularly struggle look at where the issues are. Is it setting a time to do so? Is it prioritising? Whatever the issues are make a list of things that can help you maintain your mindfulness in your life and schedule them in, with full awareness that it takes effort and consideration to make lasting change.

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