Winter is here! Worried that the cold might get you and your family sick more often?
One thing that definitely makes us sick more often is our body’s response to stress and anxiety. Obviously, having to deal with the holidays can make us stressed out. This stress directly impacts your body and your general health. The better that we are equipped to deal with stress-induced anxiety, the better off our health will be.
One great way to deal with stress is the process of mindful meditation. Mindful meditation, instead of other forms of meditation that focuses your attention outward, commands us to pay attention to the present. It commands us to be aware of what’s going on inside our bodies and our minds. The goal is to simply acknowledge the reality inside ourselves, instead of constantly focusing on how to change our situation.
Once you move from the tendency to want to change things to the point of accepting your true and ultimate reality, you get closer to the goals of mindful meditation. This gives us the opportunity to see and appreciate ourselves for who we really are. Mindfulness simply provides nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it unfolds.
So how do you practice mindful meditation? Here are a few steps to get you started.
1. pick your location. Scene and setting are very important for getting the appropriate mood for mindful meditation. We recommend finding a quiet room with a candle lot and a cushion to sit on.
2. Sit in a posture that is upright but not rigid. Cross your legs in a comfortable position in front of you.
3. Sit there and pay attention to your breath as it comes in and out of you. Focus on keeping your breathing as steady as possible.
4. Pay attention to your thoughts (and they will come!). Instead of focusing on any particular thought, let the thought enter and leave your consciousness naturally.
5. Finally, remind yourself that you need to be inwardly compassionate. You are trying the best that you can, and being hard on yourself will get you nowhere, and will lead to anxiety.
Start by doing this for fifteen minutes at a time, and then see if you can go longer. After getting some practice, this meditation should help you reduce anxiety and stress in your life, which will also help you feel more healthy.
Two great apps that can help you get into mediation are Headspace and Calm, which offer guided meditations with different topics such as health, gratitude, productivity and more. They both offer free trial periods!
There is a common misconception that meditation is the absence of thoughts when really it is more about the recognition of thoughts and the ability to put them aside for the few moments of calm you’re going for. While it does take practice, there is no such thing as ‘can’t do it’ or a wrong time to start. You’ll find it gets easier with each practice and even on days you have trouble focusing, the mantras that will be read on the apps mentioned above will provide food for thought no matter the mood you’re in. Try it now and let us know how you like it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.Featured image by brickrena / shutterstock.com Author Profile:
Steve Bronson in association with Doctors Imaging. They’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care and the physical fitness of our nation’s veterans. More information can be found at www.doctorsimaging.com/.