The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
Many of us work hard to eat right and exercise our bodies, but often the mind gets overlooked when it comes to our health.
Meditation often considered an exercise for the brain, is a great way to focus on the health of the mind. Through this mindful practice, the pituitary gland in the brain secretes hormones called endorphins, which result in an amplified feeling of well-being.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Mindful Practice
People often use meditation for stress relief, but there are many other benefits of creating a meditation practice, including:
Anxiety Relieving stress through meditation has also been known to lessen anxiety, thus creating a calm space for the mind to relax by being present in the moment.
Emotional Health Routine meditation has been found to decrease inflammatory chemicals in the brain that can affect mood and emotions, and cause depression, which allows for more opportunities to focus on a more positive outlook on life.
Self-Awareness Taking the time to sit alone can lead to a greater understanding of self and how that self corresponds to other people.
Sleep Because meditation settles the mind and body, it is a great practice for helping people with falling asleep and staying asleep.
Pain Pain is connected to a person’s state of mind, so by relieving stress and balancing the mind and body, a person becomes better equipped to manage pain.
How To Start A Mindful Practice At Home
To start your meditation practice, it’s a good idea to set a routine, even if you are starting with just a few minutes a day. The best way to do that is to choose a good time when you can take a few moments to yourself to find a quiet, relaxing spot (parents, this may even be the bathroom!).
Once you are set up with your time and spot, find a comfortable position to either sit on the floor or in a chair - your eyes will be closed for this.
1. Set Your Intention Come to your meditation ready to bring yourself relief, connect, relax, or decompress. Whatever your reason for choosing meditation, this is what you want to come to the practice with.
2. Relax the Body Once you are seated with your eyes closed, you want to focus on your breath, and how it is coming in and out of the body as you breathe. Move through your body in your mind and take note of any tension or pain. When you come to this area, stop for a moment and focus on sending your breath to that area.
3. Pay Attention to the Senses Keeping your mind focused on the sensations you are feeling is a good way to keep the mind centered, or to keep it from wandering.
4. Come Back to the Body If you do find your mind wandering, that’s okay, just keep bringing your thoughts back to your breath until the end of your meditation.
This is not going to be easy at first, but the benefits of meditation make it worth it to keep on trying. It does get easier!
If you are able to buy a Muse Headband. I use this to practice my meditation and it has helped tremendously. It is a device that senses your brainwaves. When your brain is rapid with thought it will tell you by increasing the sound of the noise. When your mind is calm, it will decrease the sound. When your brain is in a calm state, it will play birds. At the end of each session, it tells you how many birds you received, how much time you were calm, neutral, or active, and how many recoveries you had to make to calm your mind.
It really has been such an incredible tool (and no I am NOT an affiliate with this company, I just really love this device). It made meditation practice feel less intimidating and easier to get better at with practice.