If you are trying to find a great way to relax, mindfulness techniques and meditation are two ways in which you can not only relax but learn to live life completely present in each moment. They can also help to heighten your overall well-being, spiritual awareness, as well as helping you feel much more positive about yourself and life in general.
Mindfulness Techniques Are Not As Difficult As You May Think
Mindfulness techniques are probably some of the easiest techniques for relaxation and finding the right mindset to bring harmony and peace to your day. One of the best things about mindfulness techniques is that you can just about practice them anywhere and at any time. When you use mindfulness techniques it means that you are trying to actively pay attention to the exact moment that you are experiencing. Instead of allowing your mind to go off wandering, you learn to live in and for the moment through mindfulness techniques. It teaches you to let any distracting thoughts to pass through without you getting hung up in the emotional hangups.
When applying mindfulness techniques you can literally do them anytime during the day. You can practice them when you are working, eating, doing your chores at home such as doing dishes or vacuuming and all by just paying close attention to all the sensations that you experience at that exact moment.
So, What Are the Differences Between Meditation, Mindfulness, and Mindfulness Meditation?
When it comes to mindfulness meditation, it is more like a formal way of practicing mindfulness where you make a conscious effort to focus all of your attention on certain sensations or thoughts and then observe them in a very non-judgmental way.
Mindfulness meditation is just one form of meditation which there are many types available to try each one with its own purposes and techniques.
For instance, Transcendental meditation is probably one of the more popular types of meditation and is practiced all over the world by millions. This type of meditation is very easy to do. One finds a quiet place and then chooses a personal mantra that means something special to them. You then sit very quietly keeping your eyes closed at all times and then repeat the mantra for about 20 minutes. This is usually done two times a day. The whole idea of this type of meditation is to find a place of concentrated or restful alertness. This then can enable you to let go of negative distractions and thoughts without upsetting your balance and calmness.
Some mindfulness techniques, such as mindfulness meditation and other types of meditation can overlap and that’s perfectly fine. For example, when you focus your mind on your breathing, you’d be using one of the more basic and actually more rewarding types of relaxation and mindfulness/meditation techniques that there is.
It Can Be Confusing
Sometimes this can be confusing to someone who is new to mindfulness techniques or meditation because paying close attention to your breathing is present in both mindfulness meditation and basic meditation. But, there is a distinction in the intention of the breathing. If you are focusing on your breathing to say, transcend your own ego and learn to realize your true inner divinity, then that would be basic meditation.
Focus and Be Conscious
Now if you are focusing on your breathing to try to train and harness your mind and then to observe your thoughts that come up in a non-judgmental way, then this would be considered mindfulness meditation.
On a much larger scale, mindfulness and mindfulness techniques are actually a way of being and a way for you to live day to day mindfully and consciously. The ultimate goal of mindfulness is to help you consciously make loving, healthy long-term, compassionate, and peaceful choices in your life. Then your actions and your reactions will reflect these healthy choices.
Basic Meditation & Mindfulness Meditation
When it comes to basic meditation, the intention is to try and trick your mind into letting itself go and give the brain a rest. This rest is to help you realize your “Higher Self”, your “essential oneness” with what you consider to be “divine”.
As for mindfulness meditation, it is more secular and trains your mind, the same way someone would work out to strengthen their muscles. Mindfulness techniques help you learn to concentrate better and avoid wandering around on “auto-pilot” all day.
Mindfulness Techniques for Meditation
Everyone who meditates does it for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes it’s to help to lower their anxiety levels. For others, it’s to help their depression, improve the symptoms of any stress disorders, enhance their memory, enhance their creativity, and many other reasons.
Don’t be afraid to try meditation by implementing mindfulness techniques, yes it might seem difficult in the beginning, but it’s not even unusual for those who are experienced to say that they are still trying to perfect their meditation skills. Some say it even takes a lifetime. So, be encouraged and not discouraged. No matter what you do, you will still benefit from meditating.
If you are serious about giving mindfulness meditation a try you can attend various classes in a group if you prefer that, or you can do it on your own in the privacy of your own home. Below are some mindfulness techniques that should help you get started with your own meditation practice.
Find a Spot and Set Aside Some Time
The first thing you should do is find a nice quiet spot where you can sit down comfortably. You want to make sure that you will not be disturbed. You also want to make sure that you set aside 20 to 25 minutes of downtime when no one will interrupt your meditating.
It’s important to note that all types of meditation including mindful meditation is a “natural state”. Don’t allow yourself to worry about controlling your breathing or your mind. Make sure to not be concerned about the details of meditation because meditation is what is known as your personal and natural state.
Your Awareness Should be Guided by Your Body
Once you have learned to quiet down your mind, it’s important that while you are meditating that you gently guide your awareness to the sensations you are feeling in the different layers involved in your body. It’s important to let your awareness be totally free instead of trying to force it to any certain place. Note if there are any sensations that seem to be prevalent in your body.
Let this awareness slowly settle in with openness, true curiosity, along with a willingness to let it be what it is. If random thoughts pop up, let them be as they are and then guide yourself and your awareness back to your body.
Pay attention to how the sensations might be changing and how your awareness tends to be naturally drawn elsewhere according to your body’s own innate guidance.
Allow your awareness to follow this and trust the wisdom of your body when it starts to guide you. Through awareness, the energy patterns will dissolve in your body and your mind won’t be as dominant.
Focus on What You’re Noticing
When you are meditating, you will notice sensations, sounds, and your thoughts. That’s okay, but take the next step which is to focus on the presence of what is noticing. This might sound confusing because presence really isn’t somewhere in the body and it can’t really be truly defined in any fashion. Presence is actually quite spacious, it’s unchanging, free, and is completely unaffected by any of the details. It could be compared to the infinite sky that surrounds us.
Rest in The Presence
When you rest or abide in the presence you are actually resting in your awareness. Should you find that you are starting to get hung up on your emotions, thoughts or sensations, just let them be. Never judge them or even entertain the notions they might present. Just let go of being aware of them and hold on to the presence and experience it even more.
Capture Your Awareness Faster
In order to be able to reach your awareness faster, you need to set aside more time to meditate. The more you meditate, the easier it’s going to be to capture your awareness and then be able to fall into a much deeper experience of presence and you’ll be able to do it for longer as well.
Never Try to Control the Experience
It’s very important that you don’t try to deliberately control your meditation experience. If you realize that you are trying to deliberately avoid certain sensations, emotions, or thoughts, guide your mind to return to letting these things go.
Don’t Cut Your Time Short
As mentioned before, you should try to set aside 20 to 25 minutes for your mindful meditating with 25 minutes being the ideal amount of time. It’s important that you resist any urges to try and cut down on your meditation time. Sometimes it might take 10 to 15 minutes just for you to unwind and unhook from the outside world. If you cheat yourself of time, you could very well miss out on that ultimate feeling of being in the present moment.
Mindfulness Techniques Could Cut Your Need for Medical Services in Half
Recent research has shown that stress-related issues like insomnia, back pain, IBS, and acid reflux that bring patients to see doctors quite often can be cut drastically by simply being more relaxed. Researchers have discovered that relaxation techniques including mindfulness techniques can help people to visit the doctor far less. In fact, it was discovered that the need for medical services for these issues dropped about 43% when patients practiced relaxation techniques.
Health Benefits of Both Meditation and Mindfulness
Even at the most basic level of meditation or mindfulness, they both can help you take a conscious break from the never-ending thoughts that continually flow in and out of the mind. For some, they use it to help promote their growth spiritually or to find a renewed inner peace. Others will use it as a very powerful way to relax and use as a tool for reducing their stress. Research has shown that both mindfulness and meditation can lower your blood pressure within just three months after starting. At the same time, it can also decrease your psychological distress and can help with coping abilities, especially for younger adults.
Both meditation and mindfulness can help you regulate your emotions and your attention. It also seems to simply improve your overall well-being. It’s been reported that meditation will actually prompt some changes in the amygdala which is a part of your brain that’s associated with processing emotions.
Beneficial Changes in the Brain
Researchers have also discovered that these beneficial changes in the brain continue on even after your meditation is done. They have also discovered that mindfulness techniques can lead to other benefits not just for adults. There are benefits for adolescents and younger children as well that include:
- Improvement in social skills and better attention
- Less anxiety about tests or interviews
- Less aggressive types of behavior in those who tend to have conduct disorders
- Improved behavior in class and other social settings
- More self-control
- More willingness to participate in activities
- Increase in caring for others
- Increase in respect for other people
Tips for Practicing Mindfulness Techniques
There are plenty of professionally organized meditation sessions and mindfulness training session available. However, you can still feel free to do it alone and in your own home. Being mindful in your daily life is something that you can do easily at home. You can do it by starting your morning and day off with a simple mindful exercise. Start by putting your focus on breathing for five minutes before getting out of bed. Just focus on how your breath flows and your stomach rises and falls with each breath. This is one of the simplest mindfulness techniques you can do. It will actually help you be much better focused for the entire day.
As the day progresses, it’s important to do your best at minimizing your multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is the exact opposite of mindfulness. If you discover that you are trying to finish five different things at the same time stop. Take a breath and guide your focus back to a single task. Should any emotional and distracting thoughts come into your head, again stop. Then remind yourself they are just “projections” and are not reality. Once you do that, let them pass and don’t stress over them.
Focus is Key
When you take a walk, focus on how your weight feels when it shifts. Pay attention to the different sensations you might feel in your feet and legs. Try to do less focusing on where you are going.
Stop feeling like you need to fill up your time with something to do. Stop and take time out to just be there in the moment.
Take note of how your mind tends to try to judge all of the time. Don’t take these judgmental thoughts seriously because it’s really not who you truly are. It’s also important to practice listening and don’t make any judgments.
Try to practice bringing more awareness to the activities you do. Like when you’re doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, fixing a meal, feeding your pet, driving and so on.
Spend a lot more time experiencing nature and all the sights, sounds, and smells. Become more aware of nature and what it has to offer.
Tips for Practicing Meditation
Meditation, just like mindfulness can be practiced in the privacy of your own home. There really is no need to pay for a group session if you don’t want to. Basic meditation needs very little training.
- Just simply sitting quietly. Perhaps have some music playing in the background. Something that’s soothing. Then begin to start rhythmically breathing.
- It’s important that you focus on something when you are meditating. You can choose to focus on breathing. You can also choose an object that has meaning to you. Find something that will help you become more fully aware of being in the moment.
- Some people who meditate would rather block out anything that’s visually stimulating. They will often close their eyes, but this isn’t mandatory to meditate.
- If you do find your mind starting to wander, gently guide it back to your focal point. Then just go on from there.
- The ideal amount of time for meditating is 25 minutes. However, if you find that too long, in the beginning, try meditating for shorter time periods. Then try to gradually work your way up to 25 minutes.