Meditation, in today’s world, is the most sought-after way of trying to keep body and mind healthy. It’s widely practiced across the globe cutting all barriers of class, creed, community, and nations. Different people practice different types of meditation but the end objective of all the meditation is the same – a thriving mind and body. Though the word ‘Meditation’ has its source from Old French ‘Meditacioun’ whose root is found in the Latin verb ‘Meditari’ meaning ‘To Think’, the origin of the practice dates back to the time of the Vedas which mentions ‘dhyana’ as a ritual followed by sages and commons to attain self-wisdom. Hence, Meditation is a tool that enables one to think in the right direction for self-betterment.
What is Mindfulness
Many people spend a considerable part of their life on ‘Autopilot’ mode, completely unaware of what one is experiencing. The majority of the time, following the routines, one completely ignores all the goodness of the world like the sights and sounds and fragrances and people and the happiness around, which ideally needs to sensate and relish and appreciate. During some of those times, the brain is subconsciously either in the “Switched Off” mode or is trapped in the contemplations from the past and plans for the future, a monotonous mental routine. At the point when one sees something in the present, the tendency to judge immediately and react hastily, often working from a flawed or restricted viewpoint, confines the choices or creates concerns. Mindfulness helps one to be present in own life and helps gain control over responses and repetitive thought patterns. It helps one to take a pause, analyze the circumstances more clearly and then respond more proficiently.
Mindfulness is a practice that helps one to increase their ability to keep control of emotions and decrease the levels of stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Mindfulness enables one to enhance attentiveness along with keeping a check on thoughts and feelings without being judgmental.
In simple words, Mindfulness is the underlying human capacity to be completely present, conscious about where one is, what one is doing, and not being over-responsive or overpowered by what is happening around. It is a quality that each individual naturally possesses, and it is not something that one needs to evoke. It simply needs to be figured out how to reach it. The objective of Mindfulness is to awaken the subconscious functioning of our physical, mental, and emotional processes. Mindfulness changes the view as to how one relates to events and experiences in day-to-day life. It helps lay down a way that is less responsive and more contented.
Mindfulness Meditation: The New-Gen Power Saga
The mental training practice which teaches to slow down one’s fast-running thoughts, let go of negativity, and soothes both the body and mind, is termed as Mindful Meditation. This is a combination of meditation along with the practice of mindfulness. Techniques of implementation may be different, but in general, the focus of mindfulness meditation remains on deep breathing along with creating awareness of body and mind. No prior preparations or tools are required for practicing mindfulness meditation. All one needs to get started is a comfortable place to sit, a few minutes of free time, and a mind free of judgments.
There is no age bar for practicing this, and one does not need to be an expert to start the meditation. It is as good for teenagers as for adults. Anyone can begin doing it with a willful positive intention to move towards peace. The below points will throw some more light on how mindfulness meditation can be initiated.
There are no restrictions for wherever you sit – a chair, a meditation mat, a park bench, or any such place which has a solid, stable seat with a good backrest. If sitting on the floor, cross the legs comfortably in the front. If on a chair, let the bottom of the feet touch the floor. Straighten, but don’t stiffen. Let the hands be on the legs. With upper arms at sides, the hands will place themselves at the right place. Neither bend too much nor straighten too much as both these positions will make you feel uncomfortable.
Then lower the eyelids. Lower them as much as per the comfort as it is not necessary to close the eyes while meditating. Let the eyes be open and see the things around you without focusing on them. Now RELAX. Try getting your mind out of all sorts of thoughts. Sense your breaths and feel them deeply. Start focusing on the physical sensation of breathing – the air going inside the body and the air coming out. Feel the air moving through the nose or the mouth, the rising and falling of the stomach along with the breaths. Meanwhile, in the mind choose a focus point on the body and mentally feel the breath-in and breath-outs.
At times, the attention may get diverted from the breathings and shift to other place/s. Nothing to worry about, it’s common, and there is no need to change things. Try to bring back the mind again on the breaths as much as may be possible. If any physical adjustments are needed during the course, take a pause in mind and then adjust. Sometimes one may also feel the mind constantly wandering; instead of fighting those thoughts suggestion is not to react at all. Try being back in the mental state without any judgments. Once done, try to notice the sounds around. See how the body and mind feel, notice the emotions, and then decide how the day needs to be continued.
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced on the own or under expert advice or through online guidance. When one has started gaining some experience in the mindfulness practice, mindfulness can also be cultivated by keeping attention on the moment-to-moment sensations. It can be practiced while doing any activity like brushing the teeth or driving or while having lunch or any other time when one is in the position to remove the clutter of routine thoughts. It needs to slow down other thoughts and completely involve all the senses in the activity one is doing at that time.
The Impact and Gains
Regularly practicing mindfulness meditation leads to a very good effect on the overall mind and body, though it does not mean that one needs to necessarily do it every day. Meditating three to four times a week too gives great benefits. And, as some neuroimaging studies show, meditating regularly for eight weeks will practically alter the brain and mind frames.
Stress is one of the major demons in our current lifestyle. A standardized therapeutic process, Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBRS), has shown a huge reduction in stress symptoms in individuals. Mindfulness meditation has been found to be rewarding in many mental and physical disorders such as anxiety, depression, and in some chronic pains too.
Along with stress, heart diseases are another negative that come along with the current lifestyle. Research suggests that mindfulness meditation is beneficial for the heart. Regular mindfulness meditation lowers heart rate, and one can perform better on cardiovascular capacities.
Studies also show that mindfulness practices improve the body’s resistance to diseases. One study compared the impact of mindfulness against exercise on the immune system of the body. It was found that those who regularly practiced mindfulness had greater gains in immunity as compared to the ones doing exercise.
Practicing mindfulness meditation may help improve sleep and can be useful in treating certain sleep disturbances. It is also helpful in reducing gastrointestinal difficulties. Mindfulness meditation is one tool that can be best used to fight addictions along with reducing biases and improving behavior.
At the initial stage, one may find it tough to change the routine and get started on a new activity. But remember, a few minutes from the engrossed lifestyle can make an enormous positive impact on one’s life in all ways – physical, mental, and emotional. This little time for practising to make oneself in the present can help reap substantial benefits. Even if it is not made a daily activity, few days in a week or coming back to it need-based too will surely provide magnificent results.