The effects of psychological stress on wellbeing are severe. Data suggests that people with cardiovascular problems fare worse over time if stress is not managed, and stress tends to be related to a higher risk for cancer. Stress is closely related to poor memory and more irritation and pain. However, stress relief allows you to sleep more restfully and blood pressure management.
One of the best ways to relieve tension is to concentrate on your breath. It is a type of meditation at “entry-level,” which anybody can do. You will instantly experience a calming sensation that will help keep you healthy over time.
If you like it, breath meditation will offer an opportunity for a deeper “mindfulness” practice in which you learn to accept and understand what is going on in your life and stop resisting your inner feelings and thoughts.
Mindfulness Meditation and Guided Meditation
Meditation is a healthy way to boost awareness in your life. Mindfulness is a philosophy originally born in Buddhism, but many philosophical practices and sects share its basic values. Mindfulness basically means that you reflect on the present moment consciously — and embrace it without judgment.
You can perform mindfulness meditation at any time or anywhere on your own. However, it can also be useful to listen to guided meditations, especially when you start. Instructions by an accomplished instructor will help us motivate ourselves to stay in the current moment, to let go of intrusive emotions, and to not be too harsh on ourselves.
The simple mindfulness meditation is the activity of providing an appropriate, non-judgmental consideration for the present moment. It’s not about stopping dreaming or emptying the mind. The aim is rather to pay attention to your physical feelings, perceptions and reactions so that they are simpler, without having so many conclusions or tales.
It’s a shockingly easy practice — be here, now, without daydreaming. With practice, it will achieve profound effects, allow us more influence on our actions, make room even in tough times for more compassion and peacefulness. Over time, mindfulness meditation can make us learn much more how stress affects us and what we can do to alleviate stress.
How To Get Started
Simple breathing meditation actually allows you to be relaxed in a position where distractions are limited. Whatever you choose, you can sit, stand or go. The sitting posture is better for many people. To do the breathing meditation practice, two ingredients are needed:
- constant attention on the mind, such as repeating a sound, phrase, sentence or movement
- enable regular thoughts to come and go as you concentrate on repeating
There are a variety of videos on the internet on guided breathing, pick one that’s the right length for you. One minute is the perfect way to start, but can also be a quick session if you don’t have much time. Gradually move up to more and more advanced guides.
Mindfulness Meditation Practices
The mind is a rushing, noisy place. Thoughts can also occur as you attempt to center your mind. The trick is not to get upset or anxious about your unrest. Recognize the emotions and let them lose your focus.
You don’t have to turn your focus back to your breath instantly. Instead, let go of whatever you thought of, restart your attention, and then slowly return your consciousness to your breathing with each inhalation and exhalation.
After a couple of breaths, the mind will still wander again. But don’t get frustrated about this. This is natural. The main thing is how we respond when it happens. Just remember whatever you thought of — without too much judgment, without letting yourself get swept away — then take a moment to pull yourself back to the present then resume your meditation.
Many people find it soothing to begin by concentrating on the breath and quietly count inhalations and exhalations. This helps you to reflect on something other than distracting thinking.
It helps to develop a habit of meditation by practicing it every day at the same time. To start with, try ten minutes in the morning and in the night, then increase progressively to 20 or 30 minutes. Naturally, you can also start a breathing meditation session if you feel particularly anxious at any time.
It can also help to meditate every day in the same place. That’s not necessary, but it does help to eliminate disturbances and wandering of the mind.