Mindful meditation brings focus to your thoughts
Many people think the only way to meditate is to sit crossed-legged with an empty mind. Although you can meditate that way, there are many ways you can live in the present moment and practice meditation in your daily life.
Meditation does not necessary mean you have to clear your mind of all thought. Rather, it is a directed concentration. When you focus your attention on something so intently, the mind chatter falls away and you feel calm and relaxed.
Mindful meditation is simply the state of being focused. This can be focusing on your breath (which is always with you) or gazing at a beautiful sunset or watching your baby sleep. It is all about the present moment, without thinking about the future or the past.
When you focus so intently on that present moment, your thoughts stop wandering and your mind becomes still. Other thoughts may come in, but you can learn to simply notice them and let them go.
Activate the relaxing portion of your brain
Paying attention to your breath, making a point to hold your exhale longer than your inhale, activates your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the relaxing part of your autonomic nervous system. Mindful mediation helps you increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and is widely recognized as a healthy way to manage stress and improve well-being.
Creating balance through attention to your breathing and mindful meditation will slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels, and strengthen your immune system. These practices also increase the release of the “feel good” chemicals in your brain that help you feel calm and relaxed.
Your reaction to your environment will change over the course of time when you begin a meditation practice and incorporate it into your life. You will soon find that things won’t bother you so much. You will feel calmer and less stressed. This is an easy way to enhance your everyday well-being.
Your action step for today is to make a commitment to just 1-2 minutes (more is great) a couple times a day to be mindful, notice your breath, watch your baby or pet sleep, and be in awe of something beautiful. Give your mind (and your body) a break.
Bonnie Groessl is a best-selling author, podcast host, holistic nurse practitioner and success coach. Her mission is to educate, empower and facilitate your well-being while nurturing the mind-body-spirit connection. You can find links to her books, guided meditation audios, blog and podcast at www.bonniegroessl.com