Meditation Can Change Your Life: The Power of Mindfulness

Many of us know that meditation can be beneficial, but did you know that it is actually one of the most convenient ways to drastically improve your mental health and your physical well-being? Practicing conscious meditation is good for more than peace of mind. Actually, it can change your life.

Conscious meditation has the potential to radically transform our everyday experiences.

Many people would like to make changes in their lives, both large and small. Sometimes, this seems like an impossible feat. With meditation, however, it is very possible.

Imagine making wiser decisions and feeling a deeper sense of peace and happiness. If this were possible, what would it mean for you, your health, your lifestyle and your relationships?

In this guide you will discover a direct way to understand mindfulness and meditation, to know what the practice of these techniques can do for you, and to discover who benefits the most by adopting mindfulness and meditation practices.

  • Take advantage of the power of your mind to change your life

    If you want to understand your mind, sit down and observe it. -Joseph Goldstein

    Many times, the idea of ​​mindfulness evokes the mystery and thoughts of Tibetan monks dressed in saffron who sing & # 39; Om & # 39; – ideas that the western culture takes a light step.

    Jon Kabat-Zinn was the first to clear the attention of his Buddhist roots and use it as a tool to help manage stress in a Clinic of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine [1]. Here was born Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an 8 week program that teaches outpatients how to change their relationship with pain after medicine had done everything possible.

    Due to the success of the program, hospitals around the world have integrated similar programs Now sanctioned by the medical profession as a tool to alleviate suffering, we are experiencing the trickle-down effect when attention enters the mainstream.

    Mindfulness & Deeper Impact

    While mindfulness is best known as a way to manage stress and pain, it has a deeper impact for anyone looking to rediscover a lost sense of what it means to know oneself. oneself in a world that moves quickly.

    Jack Kornfield, teacher and author of mindfulness and meditation, describes it this way:

    "Mindfulness is not a philosophy or a religion, it is not a destination, rather it is a spirit with which you can travel through life "

    Why is Mindfulness a big business?

    "Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation, it is not about Buddhism, it is about paying attention." That is what all meditation is, regardless of the particular tradition or technique that is use. "Jon Kabat-Zinn

    If attention is about paying attention, what is the problem?

    The original term & # 39; mindfulness & # 39; comes from the word Pali & # 39; sati & # 39 ;, which means memory [2] but is more correctly described as & # 39; lucid conscience & # 39 ;. It is an incarnated state that does not allow everyday experiences or moments to be lost unnoticed.

    When "you do not realize", your mind acquires a life of its own, wandering through old memories, remembering old feelings and endlessly ruminating on & # 39; what I would have told … if I had the chance another time & # 39; . We believe that without thinking, deceiving ourselves, we are focused on what we are doing.

    You may be familiar with this state. I certainly am.

    While reading a book, I can find myself in the middle of a chapter, having to start over because my eyes mechanically "read" the text, while my mind moves elsewhere. Or caress the cat absentmindedly while planning the next job just to get a slight push from the wet nose to pay more attention. Or writing this article between cooking, making phone calls and registering a sick relative. I laughed at the irony of writing an article on mindfulness as I moved forward without thinking about the multiple lists of things for which I juggled.

    Overcoming the challenges of modern life with mindfulness

    The problem of modern life touches us all. With deadlines and time as premium resources, it is easy to think that we can do everything, until our body sends & # 39; slow down & # 39; signs This is where mindfulness really can have an impact. If your body is telling you to slow down, then it may be wise to listen to it.

    6 steps to train your brain

    Modern life has trained our bodies and minds to be separate entities. It has trained us to ignore the sensations felt by the body and to live without thinking somewhere between the past and the future, disdainful of the present moment. It's as if & # 39; now & # 39; it was something that hurries when arriving to another side. The practice of Mindfulness aims to help us pay attention, to gather the body and the mind through sensing the senses, feeling and experiencing moments more fully. It involves disconnecting the autopilot and sitting back in the driver's seat. It is about quieting the endless talk that occupies our minds at every moment of every day.

    With a simple sequence, the mindfulness process flows like this:

    1. When you pay attention, be aware of what is happening around you.
    2. Using all your senses, not just your preferred sense (usually sight or hearing), observe what each sense is perceiving.
    3. Let yourself be enchanted by the experience, not distracted or disdainful.
    4. Refrain from judging the experience as positive, negative or neutral; instead, elevate your consciousness and your conscious presence to whatever feelings arise in the body.
    5. Notice if you want to avoid any emotion that arises because it hurts, or cling to the result as if there was a shortage of resources to turn around. 19659031] Consider your answer wisely, accepting & # 39; what is & # 39; with a sense of gratitude.

    Containing the infinite torrent of white noise & # 39; in your mind

    Most mindfulness practices begin by paying attention to your breathing, without having the goal of changing it, but simply realizing it. It's a soft start, but challenging to maintain. Notice that your breath moves, through your body and again is the beginning of sensory awareness. When you begin, you may notice very little from a sensory level; You can even feel nothing. Alternatively, you may experience emotions that you did not allow yourself to feel previously.

    Noticing what you are noticing is the first step.

    You can also notice how easily your mind is distracted by an endless torrent of white noise. Again, it is about noticing what you are noticing without judging. Just observe the thoughts and let them go.

    If thoughts come back, notice that you are noticing them, and let them go again. Be kind to yourself. Being curious about what you are noticing while going back to breathing is a strong start.

    You can be aware of where you are now. Noticing Pay attention. Be aware of the senses of your body: tight shoulders, pressure of your bones sitting in a chair, clothes that touch the skin, smells and aromas, quality of light, soft sounds barely audible. This is an informal way of being aware as you go about your day.

    Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, is a formal way of setting aside a specific moment to focus. It is about establishing an intention and an approach during a certain period of time.

    Meditation offers the space to move away from the automaticity of thoughts that are often negative and counterproductive. It is a space to release the process of worry, doubt, fear and anger.

    Meditation offers tools to relax those automatic thoughts. It helps to break the illusion of "I": our ego and sense of identity to which we cling, without noticing a higher level of awareness available if we let go, we release the attachment and allow a sense of possibility to enter.

    The practice of meditation may include music, prayerful thinking or loving-kindness to build greater empathy. You can find a useful guided meditation to support you as your mind strengthens your ability to focus without distracting the mind.

    What good is the evidence?

    Attention and meditation are forms of mental training that involve exercising the mind to maintain a space, a thought or an idea spatially. When practiced regularly over time, researchers observe significant changes in different parts of a person's brain structure through brain scans (functional magnetic resonance imaging – functional MRI scans).

    For example, a mindfulness-based training program aimed at reducing stress will include training to help focus, organize and plan (areas of thickening associated with tasks governed by the prefrontal cortex of the brain). Training to help with emotional regulation (strengthening the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system) and memory (thickening of the hippocampus) also helps.

    Regular exercise based on mindfulness can be as beneficial as stretching the muscles for greater flexibility, lifting weights to tone arms and walking briskly to improve heart health.

    The main difference is that you can not see the benefits of mindfulness (unless you have an MRI exam of pre and post-mindfulness training), but you can experience the difference.

    Who benefits most by practicing mindfulness and meditation?

    Although conscious meditation can improve the lives of most people, three broad groups can obtain specific benefits.

    1. You are experiencing significant stress and physical pain

    If you are looking to change your life due to health problems, mindfulness and meditation can help. [3]

    Many health-related problems originally come from stress and anxiety.

    Initially appear as unexplained pain and pains, persistent headaches, muscle tension, decreased interest in sex, upset stomach, debilitating fatigue or insomnia, many struggle to believe that "simple stress" may be the culprit. [4]

    If the stress is allowed to go numb, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes can occur.

    Chronic stress places your amygdala (the part of your limbic system designed to react to danger) on red alert. Your body is literally fighting a crisis: chronic stress, amplification of physical symptoms until stress is relieved.

    The key here is to change your relationship with what is causing the problem. Instead of rejecting the problem or denying it, mindfulness and meditation offer ways to alleviate or minimize the sensations associated with pain and stress.

    2. You long for greater personal freedom, happiness and fulfillment

    Mindfulness and meditation help us to understand what contributes to suffering and satisfaction. When we see this, we can make better decisions. And as we make smarter decisions we become happier. And as we become happier, we make more accurate decisions and, therefore, it becomes a spiral that achieves greater satisfaction and ease. -Joseph Goldstein

    Observing the character of your mind at work helps you begin a conscious transformation to live more wisely through better decisions, which in turn provides greater happiness.

    Each of us has skillful and unskillful thoughts. Meditation helps us see, without the need for someone to tell us, thoughts that are wise and useful and those that are not.

    Noting the feelings of greed, anger or jealousy – afflictive emotions, helps us see how much better we would be if we let them go. If we can consciously recognize the thought patterns and emotions that allow us to feel happier, such as generosity, kindness and compassion, we will experience for ourselves the nature of what we want most.

    Practicing meditation seeks to help you create a transformation in your life. Instead of being "lost" in thinking and acting out old patterns of behavior, by observing what is happening in your mind, you can make a conscious decision to think ably and act wisely.

    3. Needs to release anxiety and useless emotions

    Interrupting thought patterns that induce a range of uncomfortable feelings is a skill that conscious meditation teaches. Instead of anesthetizing feelings with food, alcohol, drugs, sex or a variety of avoidance strategies, you will learn how to change your relationship with emotional pain.

    Knowing how to be aware allows experiencing emotions as transitory. The anger fades. Sadness rises. Love goes up and down.

    These changes occur naturally. Knowing this transient nature helps release the attachment to a way of being that may seem to define you.

    Mindfulness meditation for true happiness

    The practice of mindfulness and meditation are thousands of years old. Originally part of the Buddhist culture, these practices are being established in Western culture through programs that have obtained positive results from respected professionals and professionals.

    The investigation will continue to measure the results. Brain scans offer a physical test. However, the only evidence that matters is in the changes experienced by individuals.

    Experiencing a greater sense of peace, feeling happier and freer, being more relaxed or managing pain are the positive effects of practicing mindfulness.

    The benefits of being aware and practicing meditation offer ways to be more aware of yourself, of others and of the natural environment.

    It is a global change on a personal level achieved through the demystification of a complex language now available. When you handle your emotions and responses, this grass root change goes beyond personal benefit. You will be affecting others to live and love with purpose and intention.

    Start today by practicing care and making your world (and that of others) a happier and more peaceful place

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Kevin Laminto on Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Umass School of Medicine: Jon Kabat-Zinn
    [2] Taylor and Francis: What does Mindfulness really mean? [19659083] ^ Good Therapy: Mindfulness Based Interventions
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Symptoms of Stress-Effects on Body and Behavior

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    Later meditation can change your life: The power of mindfulness first appeared in Lifehack.

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