A great mental exercise to feel more centered and focused is mindfulness meditation. This practice cultivates mindfulness so that one overcomes anxiety, stress and suffering. It is not a new practice in itself; infact, it has been used both in the Buddhist tradition for over 2000 years, and contemplative psychotherapy.
It is a unique practice because it is directed to make us more focused towards the true moment, and being unconditionally present.
When someone is in a stressful situation, they can have physical manifestations of it, and they can also have a hard time controlling this response of the body. To combat this, and to help them relax, mindfulness meditation can play a great role.
In the wellness universe, it holds an important position amongst the offerings to reduce stress, even more so than yoga and exercise.
This practice is so successful that it has been incorporated in a number of venues, such as schools, prisons, sports teams and even the army. A number of researches prove that mindfulness indeed has an important role to play when it comes to stress reduction, and improving self-regulation.
As early as 1975, Herbert Benson, the pioneer of scientific research on meditation, elaborated on the benefits of meditation. On the human body, meditation can reduce hypertension, improve brain activity and reduce heart rate. In the world of ‘expectation and performance’, this practice can centre a person, and help him look past the distractions.
So how exactly can you practice mindfulness meditation? Read on to find out:
This practice focuses on being in the present; thus three basic aspects are given attention to—breath, body and thoughts. While some people prefer to do it for ten minutes or more, even a few minutes everyday can make a difference. Sit in a quiet comfortable room, on a chair, or the floor. Place your hands on the legs, with the upper arm at the side.
Close your eyes and put the thoughts of the past and future aside; focus and stay in the present. Inhale, and relax; your focus should be on your breath, and on your body. Mindfulness is all about being ‘present’, thus notice each breath, as it enters and exits the body. Don’t control or stop the breath, rather, let it follow its natural flow.
Your mind will want to wander off when you are doing this exercise. You can let the thoughts come and go, but don’t dwell or pass judgment on these. Gently return the focus on the breath. As you breathe in and out, feel your belly rise and fall. You will feel a myriad of emotions during this time—fear, anxiety, worry—just use your breath as an anchor and return to it. Teach yourself to come back when the mind wanders off, and don’t be too hard on yourself. This practice can take time to build so gradually increase the meditation practice.
This is just one way to practice mindfulness meditation. If you want to experiment with other techniques, then book an appointment with top psychiatrist in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.