What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is an activity where you make time to focus on the here and now consciously. Become aware of your feelings and surroundings without judging.
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How to start mindfulness meditation?
- Make time. First, you need to decide that you want to start with mindfulness meditation and set aside some time to practice. At first, you might get easily distracted, but the more you practice, the better you get and the more you will benefit from it.
- Pick a meditation style that fits you. There are many different types of meditation. Try different methods and decide which ones work best for you.
- Observe the present moment. Focus on the here and now, without judgment. It’s not easy, allow yourself time to learn this.
- Let your thoughts go by. Think of your thoughts as clouds that go with the wind. Acknowledge them and then move on.
- Stay in the present moment. During the meditation, your mind will wander. That’s ok, don’t judge it. Gently bring yourself back to the present moment and continue with your meditation.
- Give yourself time to come back. After the meditation, you can feel all kinds of emotions. Give yourself some time to acknowledge them without judgment, before you move on to your daily life.
Different types of mindfulness meditation
- Body scan meditation: This helps you to get out of your mind, in your body. You start by focussing on your left foot for 10-20sec, and then you move on to your other body parts until you reach your head. Every time you feel your mind wander, you gently bring it back to the part you were focussing on.
- Movement meditation: This meditation is often practiced while walking. You consciously focus on the experience. Feel how your feet hit the ground and lift off again. Try to keep your awareness involved with the walking.
- Mindfulness breathing meditation: With this exercise, you focus on your breathing. You breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. This helps you to breathe slower and release stress.
- Awareness meditation: with this exercise, you focus your attention on one of the following.
- Surroundings: Focus your full attention on things you see or hear around you without judging them.
- Emotions: Look inside and ask yourself what emotions you feel. Don’t think of them as negative or positive, merely observe and let them be.
- Physical feelings: Bring your awareness to your body and try to describe what you feel without judgment.
- Thoughts: Observe your thoughts. Acknowledge them and move on.
- Relaxing music meditation: With this exercise, you often lay down in a relaxing pose. Bring your awareness to the music you hear. If your mind wanders, you gently bring it back to the music.
- Mindful completing a task: You can do this exercise with anything. You can mindfully brush your teeth or clean the dishes. As long as you keep your awareness at the task. If you get distracted, kindly bring your mind back to the task at hand.
- Visualization: Let your mind wander to a happy place, this can be the beach or a forest or anything that makes you happy and calm. Make the mental image as real as possible. Try to feel like you are there.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: This is a technique to relieve stress by focusing on the sensations of relaxation in the body. By tensing, and then relaxing groups of muscles, you are letting go of stored tension.
Being aware of your body language is also a great way to be mindful. In this fantastic TED talk Professor Cuddy explains how her research showed that “Holding a power pose” for 2 minutes, leads to a confident attitude, which helps in high-pressure situations, like presentations, job interviews and exams. Stand with your feet firmly on the ground, back straight, hands-on-hips, shoulders back and your head held high. According to Cuddy, this raises testosterone, the hormone that makes you feel more confident, and decreases cortisol, the hormone that makes you feel stressed.
Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes. – Amy Cuddy
Were does mindfulness meditation work for?
Mindfulness meditation teaches you that feelings are a part of life, it helps you accept them without judgment. There is growing research showing that when you train your brain to be more mindful, you’re remodeling the physical structure in your brain. This can help change your perception of pain, Lowers stress and blood pressure and improves general mental and physical health. Mindfulness meditation can also help boost confidence and enhances concentration.
28-day mindfulness meditation challenge
Download my 28-day meditation challenge for free and find out what meditation exercise feels right for you.
Excellent mindfulness meditation exercises to start with
Body scan meditation
Relaxing music meditation
Progressive muscle relaxation