Emotional HealthPsychology

Practicing Mindfulness Meditation: For Beginners.

7 Mins read

What Mindfulness meditation is:

Mindfulness meditation is the mental practice of doing meditation exercises that involve breathing and awareness. The purpose of the mindfulness meditation is to bring your thoughts and consciousness to the present, so that you can focus on the “now”, being aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and your own being with the intention of reducing stress, anxiety and some physical ailments such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Mindfulness is a practice that is becoming popular due to its mental benefits. Basically, to get to know what mindfulness is you have to imagine how you feel and act when you think about a future problem that is imminent, or just a task that is due to come, or just any future plans.

Why mindfulness meditation

You will find out that most of the time, the fear and worries that we face due to the unforeseen events are because of our own thoughts and not the actual events themselves. Our fears about that event are way more troublesome than the actual events themselves. This applies to regrets, general stress and anxiety.

In his First Inaugural Address, Franklin Roosevelt said:

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”

-FDR

This goes along way to say that the things that we fear are never as scary or worrisome as we perceive them to be. That is why meditation exercises and mindfulness practices are aimed at making you focus on the present so that you don’t get distracted and swayed by the things you can’t change or control.

Mindfulness definition -a practice whose essence is focusing on one thing in the moment-each breath you take, each step as you walk, the sights or sounds around you. Mindfulness is achieved through mindful practices such as meditation (mindful meditation) and yoga.

Mindfulness meditation definition – the mental practice of doing meditation exercises that involve breathing and awareness in order to bring your thoughts and consciousness to the present, so that you can focus on the “now”, being aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and your own being with the intention of reducing stress or anxiety.

One of the ways in which people practice mindfulness meditation is through the through 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs.

Did you know these mindfulness meditation facts? 1

  1. After a 6-9 months meditation period, those who suffer from anxiety have been seen to get better at managing their anxiety through mindfulness meditation.
  2. People suffering from insomnia have been seen to benefit from mindfulness meditation. In fact 75% of them needed only up to 20 minutes to doze off. Additionally, 91% of insomniacs reduced or completely eliminated their use of sleeping medication.
  3. Mindfulness meditation has helped people suffering from back pains. They have been seen to improve their ability to do daily tasks by 30%. This is one of the proven physical benefits of meditation.
  4. Mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of (PTSD) post-traumatic stress disorder 73% of the time.
  5. 80% of hypertensive patients have lowered their blood pressure and needed less medication thanks to mindfulness meditation meditation.
  6. Practicing mindfulness meditation can increase your attention span in just days, 4 days to be exact.
  7. Grey matter in the hippocampus has been seen to increase in just 30 minutes of meditation exercises, this is how mediation has been prove to increase memory and learning skills. Its one of the most important facts about meditation exercises.

Benefits of mindfulness meditation.

  1. Improves memory, recalling of events and learning skills.
  2. Increases your emotional intelligence.
  3. It affects your natural breathing pattern and makes it more relaxed and centered.
  4. Decreases the stress hormones present in your body.
  5. Lowers high blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
  6. Reduces the level of bad cholesterol in your body.
  7. Increases your sense of self awareness and consciousness.
  8. Has been seen to help drug addicts get sober and have less slide backs.
  9. Increases your productivity and creativity.
  10. Improves your relationship by increasing your emotional maturity and sense of empathy.
  11. Increases relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety.
  12. Improves our overall health and need for medical care.

How to practice mindfulness meditation for beginners

The first time I ever tried doing meditation exercises, I felt weird, I was shy and feeling awkward at the same time. So I completely get it if you are reluctant on trying to make this your daily habit, but don’t give up yet. Its easier than you think.

I have spent a substantial amount of time on the internet trying to find an easier way of practicing mindfulness meditation so that I can show you guys, and am glad to say that you can save your money and stop trying to go on these overpriced retreats and expensive apps on smartphones that promise you God given awareness. Its simply not that hard, it just needs time and patience.

I have used a few meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm and Insight timer. They are not bad, I can give them that, but when it comes to what they charge for something that you can do regardless of the app, they start loosing their value.

But if you are into simplifying your meditation further then I would personally recommend Headspace, they have great reviews and I love their interface, its simple but elegant with tones of features and endless selection choices that are tailored to fit your needs.

If you want something to help you sleep, they have it. If you want something to help you focus on work, they have it. If you want something to help you get in touch with your spiritual self, they have it. You name it, they have it. Check the detailed review here.

But if you have time, just like I do, and don’t mind jumping into the deep end by yourself, then follow these simple steps for practicing mindfulness meditation.

Step One: Settle in and get some space.

You will first need to find a quiet place where you know you won’t get disturbed for at least 30 minutes since this is your first try.

You may sit on a chair, on the floor or even on your bed. You will need to make sure that you are very comfortable and don’t feel the urge of moving around.

Make sure you sit upright on whichever surface you are on, let your palms rest on your thighs with your upper arms on the sides of your body. I don’t recommend your cross your legs if you are on the floor or the bed because with time you will feel the urge to move a bit which will definitely disrupt your concentration.

Are you set? Lets get to the good stuff then…

Step Two: Concentrate On Something.

Most people who teach meditation recommend that you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. Which is fine but I have come to find out that sometimes my thoughts run like a waterfall when my eyes are closed and they tend to get me distracted, that is why I have opted to always focus my attention at an object, in my case: a burning candle flame.

The way the flame moves from side to side, it almost going off but still not going off – its a rhythm to my soul.

In your case you may close your eyes or choose an object of your desire, the process will still be the same. I want you to then concentrate on your breathing, and maybe the motions of your object, it may be a wavy leaf on a plant if you wish.

Feel the fall and rise of your chest and the expansion and contraction of your abdomen. With each breath notice the coolness as it enters and the warmth as it exits. Don’t control the breath but follow its natural flow and flow with it.

Step Three: Be Mindful and Stay Focused.

At this point various thoughts and feelings are creeping into your mind, don’t chase them away, it will only make the concentration harder. Just notice them but don’t pay any attention to them (don’t pass judgement or start analyzing them) – in short, its being mindful of them, get it?

Keep bringing your concentration back to the task at hand every time you feel like your thoughts are distracting you.

Some people have found that counting makes it easier to bring themselves back to the meditation exercise. Keep doing it as often as possible and sooner or later you will begin to notice that your thoughts stop wondering off and you become fully centered.

Continue with the concentration till the time is up. If you have a watch timer near you, it is better if you refrain from looking at it too, for obvious reasons of course.

If you have heard of runner’s high then you should probably want to know about its meditation equivalent. Its better than runner’s high. A few minutes of meditation and you will not want to stop.

Step Four: Take A Break and Repeat.

For maximum benefits from mindfulness meditation, it is recommended that you do the meditation exercises for at least 20 minutes each day.

After your first session, take a break – around 10 minutes, and then do another 20-30 minutes before calling it a day, but you can go for as long as you want.

FAN FACT2: There is a Buddhist belief that says if you are able to remain in a meditative state for more than three weeks, then you can become a Buddha. Challenge to you newbies I guess?

Mindfulness meditation is very beneficial if it is done on a daily basis, if you are a beginner and you are going to start meditating, then it is wise to know that this is a life long commitment since its benefits last as long as you continue using the taught exercises and practices.

“Just so you know, there’s no law that says you must be sitting on a cushion or comfy place in a quiet room to practice mindfulness meditation”, says Kate Hanley, author of “A Year of Daily Calm.”

Mindfulness meditation is one practice and exercise, but every day tasks and activities provide plenty of opportunities to practice mindfulness. These may be when:

  • Exercising.
  • Driving.
  • Washing your clothes.
  • Brushing your teeth.
  • Or even making the bed.

The main focus should be the act of practicing mindfulness and incorporating it with regular meditation.

Bottom Line

Mindfulness meditation has been in practice since the age of the Buddhist practices and for so long it had been viewed as a “religious” only thing because of its history and origin.

However, with the change of times and eras, meditation exercises and practices have become a secular thing and a medical cure for those in need of reducing their stress and anxiety or just for anyone trying to make some healthy lifestyle decision.

Therefore, if you are on a path to pure lifestyle choices and practices, I recommend you put mindful meditation on the top of your list.


Footnotes

  1. These statistics are making me think of becoming a monk, its like I just stumbled upon the Holy Grail. –Meditation Statistics.
  2. This is so interesting, sad but interesting. It makes you wonder if science got it right or the Buddhists did, I mean, it wasn’t long ago when mindfulness meditation was laughable, but today all scientists are rushing to prove how the Buddhist had it right since time immemorial.
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About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
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