Connection in Progress

Mindfulness is focusing on the awareness of present moments while acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and body. It is meant to be a type of therapeutic technique like meditation.

The key is to start doing tasks more mindfully. Think of why you are feeling this way or doing something a certain way. You can do this with just about anything. People tend to do this by living in the moment and accepting things as they come. 

Personally, I would start with learning how to meditate. It is the most common form of finding mindfulness. Most people already know the basics of meditation, but we’re going to go more in depth.

There are two different types of meditations you can choose from to start: focused-attention and open-monitoring.

Focused-attention meditation means putting the concentration on a single thing. It can be an object, sound, or thought. It is focusing on inner or external sensations while using a form of a center. The center focus could be a mantra, word, or sound repeated over and over.

Open-monitoring meditation becoming aware of suppressed thoughts. Performing this type of meditation helps people who are trying to become aware of either inner or external sensations.

Once you pick which one, the next thing you will want to do is find a quiet place . . . you want to be able to hear your yourself. 

The key to meditating isn’t to clear your mind but to become aware of your body, thoughts, and emotions. However long you wish to mediate, do it. There are no specific time requirements for this: it is all about preference.

When you’re ready to meditate, take a seat and crisscross your legs. You will want to straighten your upper body, but make sure not to stiffen yourself. Take a second and let yourself just be there in the moment. 

Focus on your breathing and the placement of your body. Lower your chin slightly to let yourself feel more rested. Your thoughts will wander—just collect all your thoughts into one thing. Now, the biggest issue is going to be pushing yourself through the small issues. That small sensation of an itch or a hair in your face: try to ignore it and push through.

When meditating, I try to go through a type of body scan with each of the seven chakras to fully relax my mind. I start from the bottom (root) and finish with the top (crown), but you can do it whichever way you wish. Below are the 7 chakras.

1.  Root – physical identity, stability, grounding

2.  Sacral – sexuality, pleasure, creativity

3.  Solar Plexus – self-esteem, confidence

4.  Heart – love, compassion

5.  Throat – communication

6.  Third Eye – intuition, imagination

7.  Crown – awareness, intelligence

The more you meditate, the easier it becomes. When your mind begins to wander, you can let go of that thought and refocus back on your breath. Think of your inhales and exhales before you do them, and you will be able to recenter yourself faster and calmer. 

Whether it is five minutes or an hour, mediating every day for at least some time can be life changing. Meditation can be done just about anywhere as well as yoga which is another way to help find mindfulness. Yoga works to quiet the mind to gain a deeper connection to one’s self.

With yoga, you will have to learn to find mindfulness through a couple poses. For instance, try the basic warrior pose or downward dog. 

Once you are fully in the position, allow yourself to hold the position. Eventually you will notice you may need to center yourself. The weight of your body could feel heavy, and your mind will tell you to stop the pose, but push through. When you hold the pose for as long as you can, you will feel happy and successful in overcoming your challenge.

Benefits of Meditation and Yoga

Reduce Stress

Stress can cause a multitude of bodily disruption like sleep, depression, increased blood pressure, and fatigue. Stress can come from personal life or even be work related.

Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety can interfere with daily activities, but getting rid of that anxiety can better one’s performance. 

Emotional health

Whether you deal with positive or negative emotions, finding mindfulness can help you learn to cope with those emotions.

Lengthen Attention Span

Once you start meditating and yoga, you will notice you can perform these actions longer. This means you are gaining the ability to have a longer attention span. Increase in concentration can enhance performance.

Kindness can Occur

Eventually you will begin to feel all around better than you started. It is not a definitive fact that finding mindfulness creates kindness, but it does make people happier which in turn makes people kinder.

Give it some time to find mindfulness. It won’t happen overnight, but once  you start feeling a difference, think if you meet the main characteristics of mindfulness.

Beginner’s Mind 

Being open to what is and acting as if seeing things for the first time helps create new perspectives on experiences that we would likely view the same or look past.

Non-judging

Not placing labels on anything, no matter if it is good or bad. Our mind automatically makes labels by learning to understand why we can then change our mindset to be more loving.

Acceptance

Allowing things as they come does not mean accepting that things that are bad but accepting our emotions towards those type of situations.

Non-striving

Content with being who you are rather than trying to be something you’re not also means accepting and letting go.

Non-attachment

Detaching emotionally from objects, people, or situations. This can help you live a more fulfilling life as you are able to let things go more easily, specifically material things.

If you have met these characteristics,  then you have found mindfulness.

Written by: Kaitlyne Piper

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