Meditation has been practiced by people for thousands of years, mostly as a part of their spiritual tradition. But recently, mindfulness has gained popularity as a tool that helps individuals manage stress levels and boost general well-being. As numerous researches prove, it’s an effective way to reduce tension. Scientists explain that mindfulness meditation can change brain functioning and improve both mental as well as physical health.
Among many definitions of meditation, the simplest one sounds as training of attention in order to achieve a calm state of mind and get positive emotions.
Mindfulness meditation consists of two key elements which are attention and acceptance.
Attention as a part of meditation is aimed at focusing on what’s happening in the present moment. It can be practiced by directing awareness to breathing, thinking and feeling physical sensations in the body as well as experiencing emotions.
Acceptance means observing those emotions and feelings in the body without judgement. So instead of reacting to thoughts or sensations, one just notes them and release.
After reviewing about 200 studies of people practicing mindfulness, researches found out that meditation is an effective tool for reducing stress and anxiety. Moreover, scientists revealed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can significantly cut relapse of major depression.
As meditation influences stress pathways in the brain, alters brain structure and activity in regions associated with emotion regulation, it helps to lower significantly stress response. It’s a known fact, that people who undergo mindfulness based cognitive therapy don’t tend to react to stress with negative thoughts or destructive emotions. In addition, such individuals have a better ability to focus on the present and worry less about the future.
It doesn’t take much to try a mindfulness meditation, but its value is huge in terms of coping with stress. Find 10–20 minutes a day and practice attention and acceptance in silence.
A spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle is one of the most-quoted individuals when it comes to mindfulness. This quote shows the essence of mindfulness approach: being completely in the moment no matter where you are. First of all, it concerns mental and emotional settings. It means you should acknowledge your mood and feelings as well as accept them.
This quote can be also applied to your physical location or situation. If you are unhappy with something at the moment, simply accepting it can help. At the same time, if you’re enjoying a walk, really be there: soak up the sights, sounds and smells of everything around you. Just share your undivided attention with life.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is recognized as the father of mindfulness in the Western world. He’s also created a highly effective Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.
His quote recommends how to deal with life’s ups and downs, changes and challenges. Instead of drowning in choppy seas, we can get on our surfboard and to cope with them by riding the waves. Even after falling off our surfboard, we can jump back on, and learn how to navigate life’s waters better.
Journaling is one of the ways to implement mindfulness. This technique is not only easy, but highly beneficial as well. It’s a proven way to sharpen your focus, turn your attention inward, and boost positive thoughts. Moreover, it has no cost, can be performed anywhere and at any moment. To practice mindfulness, you can use a gratitude journaling, reappraisal journaling, counseling journaling, self-compassion journal, and reflective journaling.
Multiple studies found that expressive offers numerous mental and emotional health benefits. Mindfulness journaling can decrease stress, level out turbulent emotions, and increase the sense of gratitude. Scientists assume that writing about difficult situations or ruminations helps the mind to process them and free up mental resources.
Mindfulness symbol is a physical representation of the present moment. It visualizes the experience of being here and now. The vertical forms of a symbol represent time – past and future, while horizontal – space. A water drop is the most often used metaphor of the idea of Mindfulness. But it is presented in a kind of mirrored way symbolizing past and future, which are illusions, so one should stay centered in the present. Although the mindfulness symbol looks simple, it has deep meaning. It also works as a reminder of being mindful of your surroundings.