I must have said it a million times myself: “I’m not a good meditator!” The distractions, the noises, the thoughts….all pulling me in different directions away from my breath, away from the here and now. As it turns out, of course, I’m not alone. Over time, though, I have learned that regular, intentional mindfulness practice (even a few minutes a day!) actually DOES improve our ability to attend to the present moment and reduce the sometimes overwhelming experiences of racing thoughts, difficult bodily sensations, and unregulated emotion. In addition to sitting with difficult thoughts or feelings and keeping sight of a vital and valued life direction, regular mindfulness practice through meditation has been shown to decrease stress hormone levels, sleep problems, emotional distress and anxiety and to improve immune system factors, blood sugar in Type II diabetes, and general well-being. Overall, research indicates that meditation has been shown to help brain functioning on several levels = improved mood, stress management, self-awareness, and attention.
Ok, I hear you saying, “This sounds great, but how do I keep out the intrusive thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations?” Well, you can’t exactly eliminate those temporary experiences. But through regular practice, you can begin to notice them, while not getting carried away by them, and increase your awareness of what is truly important and beautiful around you.
Tips for mindfulness meditation practice:
- Rest, relax, get comfortable
- Find an anchor that you can visit anytime you notice being carried away by thoughts: pay attention to the sensation of your in-breath and out-breath, mentally repeat a word or brief phrase, or visualize a comforting image
Keep in mind that regular practice can help improve your inner resources and awareness when life gets difficult. If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and wellness, contact me here. Happy Meditating!