In my October post Watch Your Mouth!: Self-Care Through Self-Affirmation I provided a few tips on how to affirm yourself to stay grounded and centered in the midst of social upheaval and general chaos. This month, I’d like to continue this discussion with an emphasis on mindfulness and meditation to help you free your mind.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that invites individuals to detach from external stimuli and be present with and for themselves. Mindfulness can involve breathing techniques or guided meditations. It can also be movement based through fusing meditation with yoga, Tai Chi, or other sports. It is important to note that mindfulness and meditation do not require you to change who you are to practice it. In fact, as you begin living a more mindful lifestyle, you may find out more about who you are and gifts that you had locked away, or traumas that need to be uprooted and addressed.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation?
Taking time to check in with yourself is one of the most important things you can do for your health. By taking brief moments throughout the day, or even a dedicated time once per week, some stress related health issues can be avoided, or the risk diminished. Let’s look at some of the other benefits.
- Stress Relief: Mindfulness and meditation help relieve stress because it’s a way to take a break from the chaos of your daily life. The world privileges grind culture and treats us like machines which we are not. It’s okay to understand that your capacity has limits, and meditation is one way to step away and reset when it has been reached.
- Helps with Anxiety and Depression: A large percentage of society is impacted by anxiety and/or depression. Whether the anxiety and/or depression are seasonal or chronic, mindfulness and meditation can help alleviate the symptoms. Of course, these techniques should be used in conjunction with other treatment options depending upon the severity of the anxiety and/or depression. Mindfulness and meditation can help alleviate certain symptoms because in checking in with yourself, and detaching for a moment, it enables to you calm down and discern the root of whatever triggered the anxiety and/or depressive episode if it is situational. If it is not situational, these practices can still help you recharge after an episode.
- Improves Concentration: Since mindfulness and meditation require a level of focus, these practices help you learn to filter out background noise efficiently.
- Keeps You Physically Fit: When mindfulness and meditation are fused with sports and other movement practices, you’re able to care for your body and mind simultaneously.
- Helps Unlock Creativity: If you are feeling blocked, try meditating and you’ll be surprised to see the ideas begin easily flowing.
How to Begin a Mindful, Meditative Lifestyle
- Determine which type of mindfulness and/or meditation works best for your lifestyle. I personally enjoy meditating with crystals (check back next month for my article on the healing properties of crystals) and also through practicing the afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira. Others enjoy meditating outside barefoot to connect to the earth’s energy. Some prefer traditional meditation. There is no wrong or right way to be mindful.
- Begin! Mindfulness and meditation are more than just trendy buzz words, they are things that we are all inherently capable of doing if we give ourselves permission to stop for a moment and be present differently.
Self-care isn’t selfish, take time to check in with yourself. To paraphrase En Vogue, free your mind; rest, healing, and so much more will follow!