What is mindfulness meditation?

mindfulnessMindfulness has its origins in Buddhist teachings and has been around for a very long time.

More recently it has become well known in the Western world and it’s becoming more popular day by day. You may have read something about it or knows someone who practices it. Mindfulness is a form of meditation which doesn’t ask us to ‘clear’ our minds of thoughts.

  • When we practice mindfulness, we bring our awareness and curiosity to our present experience.
  • We practice mindfulness with an attitude of gentle and loving acceptance. There is no need to analyse or judge what’s happening– just being in the present moment and being aware of the thoughts and feelings and the body sensations that come up for us is enough.

Curiosity is a very important part of mindfulness – because if we can be curious, particularly about ourselves, we have the potential to learn so much more about ourselves and our relationship with the world around us. With that learning comes the opportunity for us to develop greater clarity, self-acceptance and peace within ourselves.

What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?

stressThere’s so much scientific evidence which shows that practising mindfulness can have significant health benefits. One of the most important and proven health benefits is that mindfulness can help reduce stress.

For those of you who are leading very busy lives and trying find a balance–mindfulness can help you find a pathway towards feeling more relaxed, healthier and happier.

Most people will notice that something changes for them even after a brief practice of a few minutes. Many people report that they feel more calm, relaxed and generally happier since they have begun a regular practice of mindfulness meditation.

So if you’re having a stressful day, I really recommend that you try it. There are lots of books and CDs and information on-line which can help you get started.

How can we practice mindfulness meditation? How much time does it take?

mindfulnessOne of the best things about mindfulness is that it’s easy to learn and you don’t need to find a spare half hour and a quiet place to sit. You can feel the difference even by practising for 5 to 10 minutes each day, and you can do it while walking and doing many other activities.

Many of us have brief pauses in our busy days when we find ourselves with a few minutes of free time. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to ‘fill up’ those pauses with more activity. Do you find yourself quickly checking emails and texts in those brief periods? If so, why not try a few minutes of mindfulness practice as an alternative and give yourself a real break. A few minutes of mindfulness can feel like a relaxing massage for your mind.

Mindfulness meditation can be practiced through a guided meditation – you can listen to CDs, or you could try joining a mindfulness meditation group. A group is a good way to begin, because you’ll have a dedicated time and place for your practice. You’ll usually have an opportunity to ask the group leader questions about mindfulness and you’ll be with other people who are also interested in reducing stress and leading a healthier and happier lifestyle.