Mindfulness meditation: how you can easily get started
Mindfulness Meditation. You probably know by now that it’s supposed to be good for you, but perhaps you don’t know exactly how or why, or what it is. Maybe you think the idea of meditation is a bit absurd, and anyway, who has the time? So before we proceed, lets dispel a few myths by defining what mindfulness is not.
Mindfulness is not time consuming, it can be practiced effectively in a 5-10 minute session. Mindfulness does not have to be performed as part of a religion or spiritual practice, and you definitely don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor.
There is nothing irrational about mindfulness, and the scientific literature on its psychological benefits is now substantial. In fact, many business leaders view mindfulness as the new caffeine, the fuel that can unlock productivity and creative insights. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, improve cognitive function and emotional regulation, and even produce changes in regions of the brain associated with learning, memory and complex thinking. Maybe that’s why some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs swear by it, or Google employees are encouraged to try it at work, or why the Harvard Business Review is advising that mindfulness should be an essential practice for all executives.
So what exactly is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness is an extremely simple form of meditation that consists of focusing your full attention on your natural breathing pattern. When focusing on your breathing you will naturally start to notice thoughts arise. Committing your focus to your breathe in spite of these thoughts, you can simply observe them fade out of your conscious attention. By intentionally practising mindfulness, we can live life less on autopilot, and become more present in our everyday lives.
How do I start to practice Mindfulness Meditation?
Luckily, it really couldn’t be simpler. Find a quiet space and set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes. Go ahead and take a seat at the nearest chair, or if need be, the floor. Now, gradually become aware of the sensation of sitting. Feel the pressure at your back, the weight of your arms. Take a few deep breaths and allow gravity to settle you into your seat. Now gradually become aware of the process of breathing. Notice the point where you breathe most distinctly, perhaps at your nose, or the rise and fall of your abdomen. Each moment you become lost in thought, gently return your attention the sensation of breathing and observe the thought as it fades away from your conscious attention.
What are you waiting for?
So now that we’ve dispelled the myths, you are aware of the benefits and how easy it is to practice, try to find a 5-10 minute slot somewhere in your day where you can start. Like everything else in life, the real benefits come when you work at it. So don’t be dissuaded if your first go leaves you a little underwhelmed. Switch it up a little and try sitting in a different position, in a different space. Give it a go, it’s easier than you think..