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We all want to be healthier, calmer, more focused and energized; it is actually possible by practicing meditation and mindfulness training. This simple practice might seem hard in the beginning, but you can start with 3-4 minutes of meditation each day and increase the time gradually.
Mindfulness is a concept that has become more popular in the West during the last decade, mostly due to the unhealthy and stressful lives we are leading.
You can bring mindfulness into your life through ways like mindful eating, a subject we’ve explored in another article, or through meditation. A body of research has shown that mindfulness meditation works magic on all aspects of our lives.
It reduces stress, negative thinking, rumination, anxiety, and depression through changing the way we respond to external factors. Meditation is something we already know how to do, it is within us, we just have to be aware of our capabilities and explore them…
To give you a motivation boost, here’s what a study conducted by Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, Calif., USA, has concluded:
“The techniques of mindfulness meditation, with their emphasis on developing detached observation and awareness of the contents of consciousness, may represent a powerful cognitive behavioral coping strategy for transforming the ways in which we respond to life events. They may also have potential for relapse prevention in affective disorders.”
Another study supported by the Canyon Ranch Fellowship in Integrative Health Psychology at the University of Arizona reveals that mindfulness meditation reduces distress and improves positive moods, as well as reducing distractions and rumination.
“The data suggest that compared with a no-treatment control, brief training in mindfulness meditation or somatic relaxation reduces distress and improves positive mood states. However, mindfulness meditation may be specific in its ability to reduce distractive and ruminative thoughts and behaviors, and this ability may provide a unique mechanism by which mindfulness meditation reduces distress.”
More and more studies prove the magical benefits that mindfulness meditation has. Some studies suggest that through mindfulness meditation we reduce inflammation in our bodies, we improve our immune system and most importantly we take control of our thoughts and have a better response to stress. Mindfulness training can be life changing and that is why you should find ways to do it on a regular basis.
So we created a list of 5 mindfulness training exercises to start each day right and cultivate a new lifestyle that will support you on the long run. It is important to be consistent and allow mindfulness training at least 5-10 minutes of your time.
Enjoy a 5 minute morning meditation
After waking up, give yourself the time to meditate. You can do it while standing on the side of the bed with your spine straight and muscles relaxed. Keep your hands on your knees and your eyes opened or closed buy keep them uplifted. Scan your body and try to relax every part of it. Notice your breath, notice the sensations in your body, the air in the room. Try to focus your eyes between your eyebrows while sitting in silence and observing your breath, the sensations in your body, and everything that your senses come in contact with.
Practice an energizing breathing technique
Breathing techniques are amazing. You can do them while meditating or throughout the day. In this case you do it in the morning, maybe while meditating. The power of your breathing is incredible. Make sure to breath abdominally, let the air go through your nostrils slowly and even. Alternate breathing is a popular technique that will help you start your day focused and calm. It balances the left and right sides of your brain.
Here’s how to use the alternate breathing technique:
Sit in a meditation position with your spine straight and relax your face. Fold the index finger and middle finger and lightly close your right nostril with your thumb. Slowly inhale through the left nostril to the count of four, hold the breath for four. Slowly, release your right nostril while closing your left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale through your right nostril. Repeat it for 3 to 5 times.
Set your intention for the day
After doing a meditation and a breathing technique, your mind will be more focused and clearer. You can think of the day ahead with energy and calm. It is time to set your intention for the day. Maybe you just want to be more joyful that day, or have a positive attitude; maybe you want to finish a project, whatever it is that you want to accomplish that day, put your focus on it. Don’t pressure yourself, just think of what you want to accomplish and ways you can do it. Imagine yourself doing it through the day and getting it done.
De-clutter your mind
We all have a lot of thoughts running through our minds constantly. Sometimes we ruminate over and over again about different things and ultimately those thoughts take control of us. It doesn’t have to be that way. Mindfulness training exercises help you get rid of those bothering thoughts. You don’t have to just deny them, instead, notice them as they come and let them go. Imagine your mind being the sky and your thoughts being the clouds. Clouds come and go and the sky is always there. The sky is your authentic self, your presence and awareness. The sky doesn’t judge the clouds. You don’t want to start your day with a mind full of different thoughts. Instead, notice them, be aware of them and ultimately let them go.
Have a mindful breakfast
Mindful eating is another Buddhist practice that will improve your life. As any other mindful action, mindful eating requires your full awareness and being present. Eat your breakfast at the table, in silence. Chew the food slowly, noticing the taste and the feel of the food in your mouth. Be grateful for the food on your table, being grateful has magic powers. Here (link to the article) you have a full article about mindful eating where you can find how it benefits you and how to practice it.
Start everyday mindfully and your life will improve!