Mindful meditation is an essential practice for anyone looking to bring calm, relaxation and awareness to a stress-packed life. You do not have to have a diagnosed mental condition in order to care for your mental health, it’s something we should all be doing, just as we care for our physical bodies. That said, if you are someone who suffers from depression or any other mental health challenges, meditation can be an incredibly useful tool for you.
The bottom line is, mindful meditation can make a profound difference in all our lives, no matter our individual circumstances.
Stress and Overwhelm
In the Western world we live fast lives and being too“busy”, “tired” or “stressed” are common complaints. In fact, they are so common that we have just internalized them as part of normal life, perhaps even “being busy” is something to be proud of, for it suggests being productive (although that is often far from the truth). The fact is, living such a busy life surrounded by choices, responsibilities and being constantly plugged into technology has its negative consequences.
Often when we try to fall asleep, we can’t because our minds are still working overtime. Like cogs in a wheel that keep on turning, it can be impossible to switch off and actually achieve deep relaxation. How many of us keep our phones on throughout the night? How many of us reach for it the last thing before we go to bed and first thing in the morning? If the statistics are correct, chances are you are one of them. Our constant need to be connected to every little thing at any given moment has ironically caused a huge disconnect within ourselves.
The more time you spend on mindless scrolling, the less time you create for mindful awareness.
When you’re younger you can survive a life like this for a while before you start to see the effects on your physical and mental health, but as age catches up to us all the detrimental impact of being permanently switched on starts to make itself apparent.
Anxiety, depression, hypertension and stress-related illnesses all correlate to living a complicated life full of pressure and responsibility. The ability to relax, take some mental space each day and tap into a deep sense of your own self beneath your busy brain could literally change your life for the better long term.
Here’s How Mindful Meditation Can Help Improve your Mental Health
Mindful meditation is a game-changer for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed and unable to get off the hamster wheel. It’s not just for gurus or monks on a mountain top in India. Meditation is for everyone, and it’s free. All you have to do is find the time and self-motivation to stick at it.
As a beginner, you might want to try out different types of mindful meditation before finding what works best for you and your life.
Mindfulness is something you can practice throughout your day, as well as during meditation. It’s the method of dropping fully into the present moment and becoming aware of the sensations, sounds and feelings you experience at that moment.
Binaural beats are a style of sound meditation that works well for someone with limited time and a desire to sink into that relaxed brain state fast. You could combine listening to a brain wave music program with regular seated silent meditation when you have more time.
Chanting mantras are another way to bring sharp focus to your meditation. Repeating or chanting words and mantras can help you to concentrate and not get caught up in thoughts. The sound of mantras such as OM has a very powerful vibration that can bring you deep focus.
Perhaps though, the easiest and most straightforward way to begin meditating is simply to sit quietly for ten minutes and try to focus on your breath.
Become Aware of your Thoughts
Mindful meditation helps you to stop identifying with your thoughts and to stand back from them as an observer. When you do this, you create more space in your mind and cultivate the ability to detach from overthinking and overanalyzing. Through meditation, you learn to see your thoughts as simply passing by.
Cultivate Mental Balance
Mindful meditation encourages you to create balance within the mind by helping you to become aware of your emotions. Life is full of uncertainty, it is the hallmark of our existence, but that doesn’t mean you have to be hurled along with the tide. Meditation can help you to approach life in a more grounded way. When you learn greater awareness of your emotions, you are no longer ruled by them.
Mindful meditation teaches you how to relax physically, mentally and emotionally. Over time your body will remember how it feels to let go of negative, repetitive thoughts more often and relaxation will come easier to you, especially at night.
Create Greater Compassion for Others
The benefits of meditation stretch beyond their impact on you. When you practice mindfulness and meditation regularly, your interactions with others will change. Meditation has a way of bringing out kindness and compassion in you, and as you become more aware of yourself you increase your awareness of those around you. You are creating a mindset that is more accepting and understanding of others and less judgemental.
Improved Concentration and Focus
Practicing daily meditation teaches your mind to focus better. If you struggle with procrastination, then meditation is essential. When you regularly train your mind to experience focused attention in meditation this translates to improved focus for the rest of your life. You will find that you become better at listening and pausing before you react to others, as well as instinctively knowing how to respond clearly and moving easily from task to task.
Deeper Sense of Gratitude and Appreciation
Practicing mindfulness and regular meditation increases your appreciation for the simple things in life. Learn to slow down and take regular breaks from the stresses of your daily routine. You will then automatically start to experience greater gratitude for your life. In turn, the more you appreciate things the easier it is not to be swept up in distracting and stressful thoughts. Gratitude is an absolute game-changer. When combined with meditation, gratitude acts as a positive force bringing huge benefits to your experience.
Practicing mindful meditation every day can not only improve your physiological functions and processes but also helps you to bring balance, peace, focus and calm to your life. If you want to learn how to live your life with purpose. Show up as the best version of yourself every single day and make meditation an integral part of your experience.
Please realize that you are a work in progress, we all are. Meditation will not protect you from negative experiences that you cannot control. But it will help you to navigate the challenges of this life experience with grace, gratitude and happiness.