We are rarely fully present. For example, when brushing your teeth or taking a shower, you are always thinking about something else like work or your shopping list. This is normal because our thoughts always take us to the past, future, or space – especially if we are not focused on the here and now. Practicing mindfulness will help you stay present.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness has its origins in Buddhism. It means bringing your attention back to an object (one’s breath, part of one’s body, etc.). It is the opposite of multitasking or being on autopilot: you know, that awkward moment when you realize you’ve been driving for 10 minutes…that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness
Science has proven that practicing mindfulness can lead to a reduction in pain, stress, anxiety, and sleeping disorders. It also prevents depressive relapses and improves concentration and creativity.
How does this happen? Why? Constantly bringing your attention back to a chosen object engages different neural networks. If you practice mindfulness consistently, new connections form in your brain, resulting in the benefits that are brought about by meditation.
Who should try mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is beneficial for everyone, but particularly recommended if you:
- don’t stand still and hate “doing nothing”;
- are always “in your head”;
- are stressed;
- have anxiety and/or sleep disorders;
- find it difficult to take a step back from situations;
- experience a lot of relationship conflict;
- are a perfectionist to the extreme (hi!);
- suffer from chronic illnesses or pain;
- have seizures (bulimia, anger, etc.)
How to integrate mindfulness into your daily life
Now that we’ve unpacked the theory of meditation, let’s move on to practice. Natural meditation can be practiced in two ways:
- Formal: by taking a break, in a sitting or standing position, to meditate.
- Informal: by paying attention to every moment of the activity that you are engaging in. For example, you can practice meditation when you are taking a walk – by noticing the smells, physical sensations, color of the landscapes, and your breath.
Here are for quick tips that will help if you are new at meditation.
Use the STOP method
S (stop): Stop for a moment and close your eyes.
T (take a breath): Place one hand on your stomach and take a deep breath.
O (observe): Become aware of the thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that are present. What signs do you feel? What predominates? Observe what is happening within you. If you become distracted, become aware of it and simply bring your attention back to the present moment.
P (procedure): Become aware of the elements acquired following the exercise carried out and put them into action.
Establish a routine: 10 minutes before starting your day
The best time to meditate formally is immediately after you wake up. As with just about everything, 10 minutes a day is better than an hour. That’s why I suggest you start with daily sessions of 10-15 minutes, just enough for the effects of meditation to kick in. You can gradually increase the duration if you feel like it, but you don’t have to.
The ideal is to meditate every day, challenging yourself never to break the chain. But since it’s not always easy, try to practice as often as possible. Keep a calendar, an Excel file, pot-its, anything that allows you to easily track your meditation days.
Be kind to yourself
If you think meditation is thinking about nothing, it’s going to be very difficult for you to do it. It’s impossible to have a completely blank mind: even Buddhist monks wonder what they’re going to eat for lunch! Your goal should not be to make these thoughts disappear but to watch them. Because your mind is as stable and fixed as a drunk child, meditation is a demanding exercise, in which you will not always be successful. On such days, be kind to yourself.
Using scents can be a pleasant way to enhance your meditation experience. You might particularly find this approach beneficial if you use soothing scents such as lavender and sage. Here are some suggestions from Aluminate Life.
The soothing vibrational energy of Rose Quartz nurtures and supports the physical body, eases emotional stress, and bathes the whole body with unconditional love and acceptance.
Achieve tranquility with our Calm Candle. Sodalite crystal calms the mind while delicate chamomile, floral wood, and grounding sage oils promote peace of mind and serenity.
Let go of stress with our Release Essential Oil Rollerball. Amethyst crystal eases all pains while the relaxing scents of lavender, bergamot, and frankincense dispel anxiety and worry.
Sweeten self-care with our Sleep Reed Diffuser. Rose quartz crystal nurtures and promote stability while the calming scents of rose, lavender, and vanilla naturally relax you and encourage sweet dreams.
Mindfulness changes you psychologically, cognitively, and physically. If you practice mindfulness and you will become happier, less stressed, more focused, and more creative while improving your sleep, immunity, and your life expectancy. Begin as soon as you can.