By Pam Dewey • mental health, mindfulness, meditation, mindful meditation, self care • March 11, 2021
Think about it: When was the last time you watched TV without scrolling through your phone? Though most of us have far fewer social commitments these days, we still have trouble concentrating.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment and to accept things in that moment. In other words, mindfulness encourages you to slow down and focus on what is happening right now.
That might seem simple, and it is to a certain degree. However, too often, as Mindful.org states, “Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.”
Mindfulness encourages us to come back to the present moment and be aware of whatever we’re doing. It can help with stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have also shown it may help improve your memory.
One way to practice mindfulness is through mindful meditation. Here are the steps to begin a mindful meditation practice.
Find a calming corner
Identify a place where you can get away from distractions. It should be relatively clutter-free. Don’t pick an area right by your computer or near the TV. Your calming space could be a quiet room or a backyard. Even a corner of your bedroom can work.
Sit down in a comfortable position
Sit on a cushion on the floor with your legs crossed in front of you. Or sit in a chair. Pick a chair with a relatively flat seat, so you’re not pitched too far forward or leaning back. You should be able to place your feet on the floor while in the chair.
Sit up in a natural position
Sit up relatively straight, but not in a way that feels uncomfortable. Let your body sit in a natural position. Let your hands sit naturally in your lap.
Mindful.org suggests, “Drop your chin a little, and let your gaze fall gently downward.” You can also close your eyes, but that isn’t necessary. Look at what is in front of you without focusing on it too closely.
Sit still and focus on your breathing
Let your body relax and focus on your breathing. You don’t need to breathe a certain way while practicing mindful meditation. Try to notice your breath as it comes into your body and then as you exhale. Psychology Today states, “Once again, we are interested in how we already are, not how we are if we manipulate our breath.”
Bring yourself back to the present
Your mind will wander. Stop and observe your thoughts without reacting. Then bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing again on your breathing. The more you practice, the easier this will become.
Lift your eyes
When you’re done meditating, lift or open your eyes. Notice how your body feels, as well as how you feel emotionally. Ten minutes might be a good place to start with your mindfulness meditation. You can add more time as you become more skilled at it.
Remember, being mindful is about being present in the moment. It isn’t about emptying your head of all thoughts. Rather, you are trying to spend time with yourself as you are, accept the present moment and bring clarity and calm to your life.