Mindfulness is a tool that can be used for a many things and has a ton of benefits. To name a few:
- It can be used as a great form of meditation that gives us a break from all the chatter and noise of our daily lives.
- It can also be used as a great way to become more in-tune with our own thoughts and feelings.
- It can be useful for addressing flaws in our thinking and correcting them with techniques such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).
So now that you have a general idea of the benefits of meditating, lets start your first mindfulness session:
Step 1. Breathe
The first step is to simply breathe. Breathing deeply in and out through the nose will help you to reduce stress levels by circulating more oxygen around your body and sending signals to your brain that you are in the ‘rest and digest state’. Cortisol decreases and brain activity slows.
Step 2. Concentrate On Your Senses
The next thing to do is to concentrate on your senses. This is a good way to start bringing the attention inward. Listen for any sounds that you normally miss, notice what temperature your body is and think about the smells you can detect. Don’t ‘look’ for sounds, just let them come to you. You’ll likely find there is much more in your soundscape than you initially realized.
Step 3. Use Body Scan Meditation
The next step is to turn your awareness in even more and use something called ‘body scan’ meditation. This means that you’re now concentrating on your own body and in particular, how it feels. Start from your head and face and notice the muscles that are contracted. Move down through your neck, shoulders, arms and all the way to your toes.
Finally, return your attention to your chest and how it rises and falls as you breathe. Now you’re going to count your breaths for a while to allow the thoughts to become still.
Step 4. Let Your Mind Do What It Wants
Finally, you’re going to allow your mind to do whatever it wants. That means allowing it to wander or allowing it to sit still. The point is that you are going to remain detached from the flow of thoughts and while you might notice them, you’re not going to get ‘caught up’ in them. When you notice yourself getting lost, simply bring yourself calmly back to the center. Don’t apply any pressure on yourself during this process. Don’t expect immediate results and don’t worry if you need to stop to scratch an itch. The whole point is to just allow yourself a gentle break and the more you push for results, the less likely they are to come.
Well done! You just completed your first mindfulness session. Continue this process for at least 10 minutes a day and see how much calmer you will become!
To your meditation,