Meditation is a mind-body practice. A mindfulness meditation is one type of meditation that you can choose to explore. It is a combination of a meditation with the practise of mindfulness. I love mindfulness meditations because they are so simple - simply becoming aware of the present moment, so you can bring awareness to your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and body sensations without judgement.
A mindfulness meditation is an incredible tool to have in your toolbox for; better self care, focus and attention span, being aware of your inner thoughts and negative self talk, increased and lasting calmness, more energy and better sleep quality.
Mindfulness is a practice and a way of being. It isn’t something we just do for 10 minutes and forget about it.
We can practise mindfulness everyday in informal ways- any moment where you are bringing awareness to all aspects of your life, including mindful eating, walking, cooking and even brushing your teeth. When you are more mindful, you can choose where you put your thoughts, rather than being entrapped by thoughts and feelings that often feel like they are controlling you.
A mindfulness meditation is a more intentional and formal way of practising mindfulness. These four mindfulness meditations include body scans, breathing, listening and open awareness. It doesn’t require any props or preparation (no need for candles, essential oils etc unless you enjoy them). Just a few minutes, a comfortable spot and a curious mindset. A chance to be still; more present, increased curiosity and acceptance of life's circumstances.
The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, or to stop thinking - you have between 12-60,000 thoughts per day! Instead, it is to simply notice, observe and stop letting your thoughts control you. It helps us to have a rest from the constant ‘inner commenter’. After a while you will begin to be able to shift your attention to where you want it to be - to right here, right now in the present moment, not dwelling in the past or dreaming about the future.
When we practice mindfulness, we use breath as an anchor, to stabilise us, make us feel steady inside and out. These simple breathing exercises help us to calm the busy mind, allow us to take a pause from the constant inner chatter and creates space to be present in the here and now. You can move your brain from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and relax’ by paying attention to your breath - physically and mentally let go of tension.
It’s not a quick fix, cure - it’s a practice, something to become better at so consistency is key. The more you prioritise time to meditate, the more benefits you’ll see in your everyday life - like having a shower or practising a new skill, we do it to see the benefits, right!?
The positive effects of meditation have been scientifically proven in recent years although people have been practising meditation for a long time, it dates back to about 5,000 BCE. With all the technology, fast pace of life, pressure people put on themselves and so on, we hardly have a moment to just be with ourselves. To be still, enjoy the sunshine, the birds and the breeze - a simple state of just being.
And after all, we are human beings, not human doings.