Our lives are so busy. Constant pressure to keep up, to do more and better,drives us ever forward. As our heart rate increases so does our adrenalin, then cortisol kicks in. Outside pressures become physical manifestations, leading to more pressure. And the cycle continues.
You hear phrases such as ‘crazy busy’ and ‘insanely busy’ – crazy and insane are apt descriptions of how many of us lead our lives. Busy doesn’t equal happy and in the longterm it can lead to serious health issues. So the question is: how do you break out of the cycle?
Mindfulness meditation is the answer
‘But I don’t have time to meditate’. I would say you don’t have time not to mediate.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that focuses on the breath as it enters and leaves your body. It sounds simple. There are many different ways to learn and practice mindfulness, the oldest and purest form of the technique is called Vipassana and originated in India two and a half thousand years ago.
Mindfulness meditation is as easy as deciding to put aside some time each day to sit quietly and observe your breathing. You don’t even have to alter your breathing, just be aware of the breath as it enters and leaves the body.
What is the point of mindfulness meditation?
The ultimate point is to learn to observe. You work with the breath, the very essence of life, so that in your everyday world you will be able to stand back and observe your feelings, thoughts and actions.
Feelings become thoughts; our reaction to our thoughts keep us locked in the neverending cycle I mentioned above. We feel, we react, our thoughts become a monologue driving us onto ever more action. What if we stopped and took the time to consider what we are feeling and thinking?
The benefits of mindful meditation
- You will gain control over your body’s fight or flight mechanism
The practice of observing your breath will become a muscle memory to observe feelings and thoughts. In a moment of stress, you will be able to step back and think about the ‘why’ of an action rather than jumping straight into the ‘how’.
- You will come to understand what is important and what is not
Sometimes the noise of modern life takes over, making it hard to distinguish what is important.Mindfulness meditation will help to quiet the noise.
- You will learn the art of saying ‘no’
Sometimes we allow others to put demands on us when we shouldn’t. Mindfulness meditation will give you the clarity and confidence to be able to say ‘no’ and mean it.
- You will learn to cherish those around you
Mindfulness meditation will help you to value your relationships and to understand that they need nurturing.
- You will learn to silence your critical inner voice
No one is perfect; but there is a voice inside your head who tells you to try harder, do more, be better. Mindfulness will help you to end the cycle of guilt and anxiety by facing up to and addressing your inner critic.