How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation in 6 Easy Steps
In a fast-paced world where stress can easily take over our lives in so many distinctive forms and cripple us from functioning normally, each of us should have some kind of defense mechanism to shield ourselves from the havoc that a stressful life wreaks upon us.
Who wouldn’t aspire to establish the so-called inner peace?
It’s no secret that we all have our battles. Envision yourself walking down the street, glancing up at all the unfamiliar faces. You have no clue what they’re going through: someone might be trying to break free from their past, struggling to accept the present, or shaking like a leaf because their future is terrifying.
Once these fierce, long-running battles begin in the silent chambers of our souls, we automatically go on a specific mission: freeing our minds from the darkness that overshadows our thoughts, dreams, and identities. This is when we truly establish our inner peace!
In response to this widely known issue, loads of solutions, tricks, and even products surfaced in the market, competing to draw your (let’s be honest) divided attention. But how to know which technique works? Which one could creep into your chaotic life, set it straight, ground you, prevent you from functioning on autopilot, and gift you that much-needed sense of tranquility?
Meditation has forever been a practice that helps you connect with your mind and body, focus on the ongoing present moments instead of letting them fleet by, have a clear vision of what you are doing next, and cultivate a sense of inner peace.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
How often have you come across a group of people sitting in a circle in a garden or gym class with their eyes closed?
No, they are not about to conjure some spirits. They might seem detached from their surroundings, summoned to an entirely different dimension. However, it’s quite the opposite! They are way closer to the present time than any of us.
As the name probably gave it away, this practice is a combination of mindfulness and meditation. So, let’s break it down:
More often than not, you catch yourself swallowed up by the past, too afraid to let go. Soon enough, you and your thoughts become prisoners of the past, forgetting all about the present moment. You no longer have a say in the “now” nor a voice in your destiny. Instead of mindfully living, you are this barely-existing half a soul.
Or disturbingly anxious, you find yourself playing out myriad scenarios. You let the what-ifs take control of your mind. You excessively worry about what might happen, dwelling on negative thoughts and emotions. Even if you think that living in the future is your way of controlling it, you are letting the present slip away!
This is when mindfulness comes in handy.
With mindfulness practices, you are solely living in the present moment. Your mind is no longer a prisoner of the past nor anxious about the future.
If you are an overthinker who feels trapped in your head most of the time, this practice pulls you back to where you belong: the here and now! You no longer have to create problems that do not even exist!
“It is not that easy to just lose control and let things flow”, you might be thinking to yourself now. To be honest, it’s true. Quieting the voices inside you can be extremely challenging, but ignoring the damage they cause is way more dangerous.
If mindfulness is the technique, meditation is the practice itself.
Practiced across various cultures all over the globe, meditation has forever been part of nearly every religion. While many people resort to meditation as a religious practice, others meditate to train their attention and awareness.
Whether it’s concentrative meditation, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, body scan meditation, or mindfulness meditation, people turn to meditation practices to realize a heightened sense of awareness, a clear mind, and an emotionally calm state.
In short, mindfulness meditation practices combine mindfulness (living in the present moment) with meditation (exploring the wonders of your mind).
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation?
#1 Select Your Comfort Zone
There’s no better way to get the most out of this meditation practice than by figuring out your safe spot. Whether it’s your room, garden, or park bench, it has to be somewhere you feel secure enough to let your guard down to enjoy your mindfulness meditation practice.
Imagine attempting to practice basic mindfulness meditation in your living room. How would you ever reach this tranquil state of mind where you finally reconnect with your soul when all your family members take turns in interrupting your practice?
Every single topic is conversation-material once you kick start practicing mindfulness meditation!
#2 Get in a Comfortable Position
You are about to achieve calmness of mind. To make this mission possible, you can’t be irritated the entire session because your back hurts!
Creating a stimulating environment is key to making this routine a success. So, before embarking on your journey, make sure that everything around you is in place.
#3 Set a Timer
Given the fact that we are impatient creatures who can’t stay still, setting a timer is a great way to forget about everything else in life and focus on this meditation practice.
Going through such a new experience is interesting. You might find yourself rushing into setting your timer for a whole hour. Sadly, this might end up in ditching mindfulness meditation altogether because it turned out to be extremely difficult!
Why not take it one step at a time? As a start, practice mindfulness meditation for only 5 minutes and increase the time with each session.
Here’s a life-saving tip for you though: opt for a soft alarm so you don’t jump out of your skin when it rings!
#4 Focus on Your Breathing
Fleeting thoughts pop into your mind, imaginative ideas suddenly flash across your brain, and your eyes wander across the space. You just can’t focus!
Shift your awareness to your breath, notice everything about it, and mindfully observe it. When you draw your attention to breathing, you will follow your breath as it goes in and out.
#5 Monitor Your Thoughts
While you are attempting to connect with your inner self, your mind will also attempt to play tricks on you. It might send you back in time to face a horrifying memory or take you on a journey to the indefinite future where you overthink every possible scenario.
Take a deep breath, return to your body, and focus on your breathing instead.
#6 Practice Mindfulness Techniques
Looking after your mental health through mindfulness-based stress reduction requires some techniques:
Eat Mindfully: To make sure that your eating habits are healthy, take a moment and focus on what you’re eating; its shape, form, texture, smell, and taste.
Name Your Surroundings: Grounding yourself is essential to living in the moment. Notice 5 things you can hear, 3 things you can see, and 2 sensations you can feel.
Turn a Boring Chore into Meditation: Believe it or not, any single task can be transformed into mindfulness practice. Even washing the dishes? Yes! Listen to the water flowing, feel the texture of the sponge brushing against your hand, and smell the dish soap.
Create a Gratitude List: As a daily routine, once you wake up and before you go to bed, write down 5 things you are grateful for in your life.
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Allocating a certain physical spot for mindfulness meditation trains your mind that this space is where we let go of all our worries, reduce stress, recharge our batteries, improve our mental and physical health, reduce our chronic pain, untangle our disturbing thoughts, and become in tune with our inner universe.
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