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Meditation Can Change Your Life: The Power of Mindfulness

From Lifehack - April 12, 2018

Many of us know that meditation can be beneficial, but did you know that it is actually one of the most convenient ways to make a drastic improvement to your mental health and physical wellness? Practicing mindful meditation is good for more than just peace of mind. It can actually change your life.Many of us know that meditation can be beneficial, but did you know that it is actually one of the most convenient ways to make a drastic improvement to your mental health and physical wellness? Practicing mindful meditation is good for more than just peace of mind. It can actually change your life.

Mindful meditation has the potential to radically transform our everyday experiences.

A lot of people would like to make changes to their lives, both big and small. Sometimes, this seems like an impossible feat. With meditation, though, it is very possible.

Imagine making wiser decisions and feeling a deeper sense of peace and happiness. If this were possible, what would it mean for you, your health, your lifestyle, and your relationships?

In this guide youll discover a straight forward way to understand mindfulness and meditation, know what practicing these techniques can do for you, and find out who benefits most from adopting mindfulness and meditation practices.

Tap Into the Power of Your Mind to Change Your Life

If you want to understand your mind, sit down and observe it.Joseph Goldstein

Many times, the idea of mindfulness evokes mystery and thoughts of saffron robed Tibetan monks chanting Omideas that western culture step lightly around.

Jon Kabat-Zinn was the first to cleanse mindfulness of its Buddhist roots and use it as a tool to help manage stress in a University of Massachusetts Medical School Clinic 1. Here, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an 8-week program teaching outpatients how to change their relationship with pain after medicine had done all it could, was born.

Because of the programs success, hospitals around the world have integrated similar programs. Now sanctioned by the medical profession as a tool to ease suffering, were experiencing the trickle-down effect as mindfulness enters main stream.

Mindfulness Deeper Impact

While mindfulness is best known as a way to manage stress and pain, it has a deeper impact for anyone aiming to rediscover a lost sense of what it means to know ones self in a fast-moving world.

Jack Kornfield, mindfulness and meditation teacher and author describes it like this:

Mindfulness is not a philosophy or a religion. Its not a destination. Rather, its a spirit with which you can travel through life.

Why Is Mindfulness Such A Big Deal?

Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation. Its not about Buddhism, but about paying attention. Thats what all meditation is, no matter what tradition or particular technique is used. Jon Kabat-Zinn

If mindfulness is about paying attention, whats the big deal?

The original term mindfulness comes from the Pali word sati, which means memory 2 but is more correctly described as lucid awareness. Its an embodied state that doesnt let day-to-day experiences or moments drift away unnoticed.

When not noticing your mind takes on a life of its own, wandering through old memories, recalling old feelings and ruminating endlessly on what I would have said toif I had the chance again. We think without thinking, kidding ourselves were focused on what were doing.

You may be familiar with this state. I certainly am.

While reading a book, I can find myself halfway through a chapter, having to start again because my eyes mechanically read the text, while my mind drifted elsewhere. Or petting the cat absentmindedly while planning the next job only to get a solid nudge from a wet nose to pay more attention to her. Or writing this article between cooking, phone calls and checking in on an unwell relative. I laughed at the irony of writing an article on mindfulness while pushing mindlessly ahead with the multiple to-do lists I was juggling.

Overcome Challenges of Modern-Day Living With Mindfulness

The problem of modern-day living touches us all. With deadlines and time as premium resources, its easy to think we can do it all, until our body sends slow down signals. This is where mindfulness can really make an impact. If your body is telling you to slow down, then it may be wise to listen to it.

6 Steps to Train Your Brain

Modern-day living has trained our bodies and minds to be separate entities. It has trained us to ignore body-felt sensations and mindlessly dwell somewhere between the past and future, dismissive of the present moment. Its as if now is something to rush through while getting somewhere else. Mindfulness practice aims to help us pay attention, to reunite body and mind through noticing senses, feeling and experiencing moments more fully. Its about switching off auto-pilot and sitting upright in the drivers seat again. Its about quieting the endless chatter that occupies our minds every moment of every day.

With a simple sequence, the mindfulness process flows like this:

Holding Back the Endless Torrent of White Noise in Your Mind

Most mindfulness practices begin with paying attention to your breathing, without aiming to change it, instead simply noticing it. Its a gentle beginning, yet challenging to maintain. Noticing your breath as it moves in, through your body and out again is the beginning of sensory awareness. As you begin, you may notice very little from a sensory level; you may even feel nothing. Alternatively, you may experience emotions youve not allowed yourself to feel previously.

Noticing what youre noticing is the first step.

You may also notice how easily your mind gets distracted by an endless torrent of white noise. Again, its about noticing what youre noticing without judgement. Simply notice the thoughts and let them go.

If thoughts return, notice that youre noticing them, and let them go again. Be gentle with yourself. Being curious about what youre noticing while returning to your breath is a strong beginning.

You can be mindful where you are right now. Noticing. Paying attention. Being aware of your bodys sensestight shoulders, pressure of your sitting bones on a chair, clothing touching skin, any scents or smells, the quality of the light, soft sounds barely audible. This is an informal way of being mindful as you go about your day.

Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, is a formal way of setting aside a specific time to focus. Its about setting an intention and a focus for a set period of time.

Meditation offers the space to move away from the automaticity of thoughts that are often negative and self-defeating. Its a space to release the process of worry, doubt, fear and anger.

Meditation offers tools to relax those automatic thoughts. It helps break the illusion of selfour ego and sense of identity to which we cling, unaware of a higher level of consciousness available to us if we let go, release attachment and allow a sense of possibility enter.

Mindfulness Meditation for True Happiness

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