How To Practice Mindfulness Meditation - Benefits of Mindfulness

How To Practice Mindfulness Meditation - Benefits of Mindfulness 

               Mindfulness meditation is a specific kind of meditation that helps you change your relationship to your thinking mind. 

               Specifically, the regular practice of mindful meditation allows you to see how the automatic thoughts from your lower brain cause much of the depression, anxiety, and stress you might be experiencing.

               Also, by learning to identify these unhelpful patterns for what they are - not facts or truth, but just what your mind does in certain situations you will be less distracted by them, which leads to more effective decision making and self-care, more fully-present lives, decreased stress and improved physical and mental health.

What is mindfulness meditation?

               Basically, it involves using your higher brain - the mindful brain behind your forehead - to intentionally focus on something in the present moment, such as your breathing, for a specified period of time, such as 10 to 20 minutes. 

               Of course, you will soon realize that your mind has a mind of its own that frequently distracts you with automatic thinking - worrying, planning, remembering, daydreaming, ruminating, liking, or disliking. 

               But this is not a problem. In fact, it's to be expected because this is just what your mind does, filling the quiet with chatter, never wanting to quit, which is why so many of us struggle to relax. 

               So, when you realize while meditating that your automatic thinking has distracted you, simply note the pattern (worrying, planning, ruminating) and then gently escort your attention back to your breathing - 100 times if necessary. 

               That's it! That's all mindfulness meditation involves.

How To Practice Mindfulness Meditation

               What do you do if you want to relax orde-stress, but you don't have 30 minutes or an hour to go to the gym or hang out with friends or whatever it is that you do. 

              What if you only have 30 seconds? Well, there's a technique that I call the 3-30 that I'm gonna show you can help you relax de-stress in 30 seconds. 

              So let's try it together. All right, it doesn't matter what posture, position, place, you're in. 

              You can do this anywhere. It constitutes of three breaths. 

              We're gonna do the first breath, together. You're gonna do an in-breath for a four-count through the nose and an out-breath through the mouth for six counts. 

          Let's do it together.

              In for four. Out for six. The second breath, we're gonna add mental attention to it. 

              So, as we take an in-breath we're going to imagine that breath infusing any tension we have in our body and on the out-breath, we're gonna imagine that tension releasing. Through our pores, through our skin, and just letting go. 

              So, let's do breath two together. In through the nose. Count to four. Imagining the breath infusing any tension in our body. 

              Out for six. Imagining all that tension release. The very last breath? Nothing to do. No task. No project. 

              All I'm asking you to do is notice what it feels like to breathe. Wherever you feel that. If you feel your chest expanding. 

              If you feel it in your nostrils. Wherever. Just notice what it's like to breathe. So let's do that together. 

              In-breath of four. Feeling the coolness of the breath, maybe. Out-breath through the mouth. 

              For six. Feeling what it's like to breathe out. Now let's try it all together. Breath one. In four, through the nostrils. 

              Nothing particular to focus on. Out-breath through the mouth. Count of six. You don't have to direct your mind to any particular place. In-breath through the nose. Count of four.

              Imagining the breath infusing our muscles and tension. Out-breath through the mouth. Count of six. Imagining the tension releasing in all directions. 

              Last one. In-breath. Count of four. Just noticing what it's like to breathe in. Out-breath. Count of six. Just noticing what it feels like to breathe out. 

              So, that's it! You may feel a little relaxed. You may not. But either way, that reduces our stress, our fight-or-flight responses. 

              Increases a little bit of calm and focus. I'm interested to know what your experience was like! 

6 surprising benefits of mindfulness meditation

              So, how can practice such a simple exercise for 10 to 20 minutes a day improve physical and mental health? Well, here are 6 surprising benefits of mindfulness meditation.

1: Mindfulness meditation is relaxing

              which is the least important benefit because there are many ways to relax. 

              Still, it's an effective way to quickly let go of life's worries so you can relax and de-stress. 

2: Whenever you become aware that you've been distracted by automatic thinking while meditating

              you will be increasing your ability to tell the difference between being in your head with thoughts and being in the present moment through your senses. 

              Most people do not realize there is a difference, but becoming aware of that difference is a key skill for reducing stress since much of it comes from our own automatic thinking. 

3: Whenever you choose to escort your attention back to your breathing after being distracted

              you will be "exercising the muscles of letting go" of thinking. 

              Of course, I'm speaking metaphorically because there are no muscles in the brain, but imagine how beneficial it would be if you possessed the awareness and ability to let go of unhelpful thinking. 

              Mindfulness meditation is like going to the gym to develop that ability.

4: The regular practice of mindfulness meditation leads to insight into the true nature of your thinking mind. 

              The more you practice, the more you come to see how your unhelpful, automatic thinking stresses you out, depresses you, or scares you, and this "seeing" creates distance between you and the automatic thinking, which gives you choice. 

              Thus, you will be able to see the truth of your automatic thinking - that it is just what your mind does in certain situations, but it is not truth or reality - which then empowers you to let go of unhelpful, automatic thinking and, thus, respond, instead of knee-jerk react, to life's stressful situations.

              In this way you can break free from the constraints of past programming, allowing you to live more fully and effectively in the present moment.


5: Research with fMRIs (an MRI that measures brain activity) has shown that mindfulness meditation actually develops the mid-prefrontal cortex

              the mindful part of the brain that can observe itself. 

              A more developed mid-prefrontal cortex increases your ability to recognize the unhelpful, automatic thoughts from your lower brain, so you can choose to respond from your wiser mindful brain. 

              For example, imagine you were bullied in middle school and, consequently, developed a social phobia and continued avoiding people for years. 

              But then you began practicing mindfulness meditation and came to see your avoidance as based on automatic thinking rooted in past pain rather than present reality. 

              So, now your mindful brain understands it's safe to disregard the automatic thinking that tells you to avoid, and, thus, you begin to feel the fear and engage with people anyway, and over time, with practice, your lower brain calms down as it comes to associate safety with the stimulus of people. 

              This is how the practice of mindfulness can help you re-program and update your wounded lower brain to present reality.

6: Being mindful is not that difficult, but remembering that mindfulness is an option

              particularly during stressful times, can be challenging. 

              Thus, a daily mindfulness meditation practice will help you remember the option of mindfulness, and the more you practice, the more mindfulness you will bring to your life, 

              which will reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, and, thus, improve your physical and mental health. 

               Mindfulness meditation is the structured practice of mindfulness, whereas mindfulness is life as a meditation. unhelpful, automatic thinking, you can choose to return to the present moment - just as you've been practicing every day when you meditate. 

               This company set out to build a device that would allow users to move objects with their minds.

               What they wound up creating is a headband that helps people meditate. It was very very difficult to build a thing that would move objects with thought but in the process, we had to teach ourselves how to think in really focused and relaxed ways and some sort of accidentally acquired the skills of meditation by building.

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