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Getting Started with Mindfulness - Mindful

Reasons to practice mindfulness

  • Understand your pain. Mindfulness can help you reshape your relationship with mental and physical pain.
  • Connect better. Mindfulness helps you give your full attention to people you interact with.
  • Lower stress. 
  • Focus your mind. Meditation hones our innate ability to focus.
  • Reduce brain chatter, that nattering, chattering voice in our head seems never to leave us alone. 

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Getting Started with Mindfulness - Mindful

Getting Started with Mindfulness - Mindful

https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

mindful.org

6

Key Ideas

What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

Basics of Mindfulness Practice

  • You don’t need  special equipment, but you do need to set aside some time and space.
  • Observe the present moment as it is. 
  • Let your judgments roll by. 
  • Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. 
  • Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up.

A Simple Meditation Practice

  • Sit comfortably. 
  • Notice what your legs and arms are doing. 
  • Straighten your upper body—but don’t stiffen. 
  • Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. It’s not necessary to close your eyes. 
  • Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing.
  • Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. 
  • Be kind about your wandering mind. Practice observing them without reacting.
  • When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze. Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. 

Reasons to practice mindfulness

  • Understand your pain. Mindfulness can help you reshape your relationship with mental and physical pain.
  • Connect better. Mindfulness helps you give your full attention to people you interact with.
  • Lower stress. 
  • Focus your mind. Meditation hones our innate ability to focus.
  • Reduce brain chatter, that nattering, chattering voice in our head seems never to leave us alone. 

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Mindfulness and simple knowing
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One Medicine Many Cures

Mindfulness can be practised to:

  1. Manage pain, anxiety, stress, or mood swings.
  2. Provide the body and mind an oasis of calm in between a hectic lifestyle
  3. Reduce suffering, distress and trauma caused by pain and depression, along with the negative emotions that come with life-threatening diseases.
The Space Inside Us

Mindfulness opens up a space inside our minds that helps us respond to outside situations with ease, instead of just reacting impulsively.

We become aware and are able to detect our default setting, which is our ‘driven-doing mind’, and catch hold of it before any impulsive reaction is acted upon. It also helps us arrest our cycle of negative thoughts.

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Mindfulness Meditation

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Changes to the Brain

Buddhists have meditated for literally thousands of years. Buddhists are trying to hack their own minds, to harness them.

Only in recent times have neuroscientists discovered that meditation changes the brain physically.

Health Benefits
  • Meditation improves attention. Studies show that 20 minutes a day are sufficient to get beneficial results.
  • Meditation reduces stress after eight weeks of training.
  • Meditation has also been shown to increase levels of empathy.
Mindfulness in major religions

Instructions for mindfulness meditations have been found in ancient texts of nearly every major religion, but it's Buddhism that exemplifies best mindfulness meditation: it...

Meditation and healthcare

Meditation has drifted from its religious connections and has been adopted by psychologists, healthcare professionals and other secular organizations as an effective way to deal with the stress and illnesses of the modern world.

3 core components of meditation:
  • Awareness: Focus on developing awareness. 
  • Non-Judgement: Witnessing an experience or sensation without attachment or criticism.
  • Peace: Though your feelings are valuable, mindfulness teaches you how to find serenity despite them.

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Mindfulness

... is a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.

Meditation sharpens your attention

Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.

Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.

Consistent meditation

Long-term, consistent meditation mindfulness changes our ability to handle stress in a better, more sustainable way.

  • Practicing meditation reduces the inflammatory response in people exposed to psychological stressors.
  • Mindfulness practices help us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover better from stress when we experience it. 

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Mindful Wakeup
Mindful Wakeup

First thing in the morning:

  • Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body.
  • Take three long, deep, nourishing breaths—breathing in through your nose and out ...
Mindful Eating
  • Breathe before eating. 
  • Listen to your body and measure your hunger.
  • Eat according to your hunger. You can more mindfully choose what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. 
  • Practice peaceful eating. It’s not easy to digest or savor your food if you aren’t relaxed.
  • If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. Make a mindful choice about what to eat based on what you really enjoy.
Mindful Pause
  • Trip over what you want to do. If you intend to do some yoga or to meditate, put your yoga mat or your meditation cushion in the middle of your floor.
  • Refresh your triggers regularly - add variety or make them funny so they stick with you longer.
  • Create new patterns. You could try a series of “If this, then that” messages to create easy reminders to shift into slow brain.

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Reducing Stress

Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress.

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Controlling Anxiety

Less stress leads to less anxiety.

Regular meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Promoting Emotional Health

Some types of meditation can improve depression and help you maintain these benefits.

  • Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults.
  • One study found that participants experienced a long-term decrease in depression.

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Transcendental Meditation

The goal of this technique is to achieve inner peace without concentration or effort. 

A person is assigned a mantra to repeat in a specific way. It is practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with eyes closed.

Guided Meditation

It is also called visualization or guided imagery, where you form mental pictures or situations that you find relaxing.

It is commonly led by a guide, and practitioners are encouraged to use as many senses as possible to evoke calmness.

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Mindfulness is not a magic panacea

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Mindfulness has been repackaged

Although mindfulness originated from Buddhism, it has been stripped from most of its teachings. 

What remains is nothing more than a self-help tool to help one get used to the very conditions that caused the problems. While is it a noble aim to reduce stress and anxiety, it is more important to acknowledge and address the underlying cause of the suffering.

The message of the mindfulness

The message of the mindfulness movement is that the underlying cause is in our mind - a "thinking disease" or a kind of attention deficit disorder. 

Rather than discussing how attention is monetized and manipulated by corporations, mindfulness advocates to view the crisis as an internal battle. The result is that we meekly retreat into the private sphere without critically engaging with the causes of suffering in the structures of power and economic systems of capitalist society.

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