Mindfulness as Meditation
I hope you’ve given yourself the opportunity to practice mindfulness since last week’s post. We've got one more Guest Post this month to wrap up our short series on mindfulness and Niti and I would love to hear from you about your experiences – specifically I want to know, how being mindful made you feel??
Did it give you a greater sense of gratitude for life, for the moment, or was it boring or difficult to quiet all of the chatter that goes on in our heads throughout the day? Was it difficult to find a good time to sit quietly and practice?
The great thing about mindfulness is that you can practice it whenever and wherever you want.
I’m practicing it right now as I sit in my home office and type this post. I am keenly aware of the fan blowing upstairs, of the sun shining through the windows, of my cat snuggling up against my leg, and of my puppy gently snoring on the floor behind me.
A great way to practice mindfulness and reap the rewards of its health benefits, is through daily meditation. I know, once again I’m throwing a yogi-type action at you, but trust me this is worth it. To borrow from Terri’s series on Setting your Intentions, you have to make the decision and work follow through as best as the day allows you with the actions that will incorporate this in your life for your well-being.
There are several different definitions and forms of meditation. Most of the definitions focus on putting energy toward contemplating intentionally. Do what? I prefer Yoga International’s definition which can be found here. Also, yes, I am a yogi-wanna-be. Now it has been confirmed for you. ;-)
Yoga International essentially says that:
meditation is calmly focusing inward.
Let’s say you’re brewing your first cup of coffee in the morning. Can you take a moment to sit somewhere comfortably (in your favorite chair maybe)? Now, close your eyes, take deep cleansing breaths, and try to quiet your mind by gently swiping away any interferences. As I said in the last post, you are not assigning any emotions to anything aka it’s not good or bad, but simply recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting the moment. When you find yourself thinking or talking to yourself (I know you do this too) simply imagine your hand gently swiping away the noise.
Start by doing this for TWO MINUTES (yep, that's it!) at your designated time and place.
Then slowly increase your time by a minute or two each week until you build up to 5, 10 or maybe even 15-30 minutes of meditation. I know that sounds like a lot of time. I am working on this too… some days are easier than others. Just do what you can and see if you begin to notice a difference in how quickly you can settle yourself down in moments of stress and even during your meditation time.
Several people have said to me that they find it hard to quiet their minds. I totally get that. We are living in a fast paced world and are often busy multi-tasking so quieting the mind can be very hard to do. If you prefer, practice the mindfulness technique we reviewed in the last post. You will still get the same benefit from focusing on the peace and joy of the moment you chose to use.
As with anything important in our lives, we have to set the intention to incorporate this into our daily life. If you are a calendar keeper – then put it in your calendar and commit to doing it. As a friend recently said to me, “If you put it in your calendar that means you are committed to follow through with it.”
I promise, you will be happy you did.
Niti Wade, LCSW is the Owner/Therapist at Gracefully Balanced Counseling, PLLC. With over 18 years of experience, she provides counseling services to individuals, couples, and families using an emphasis in her practice towards a mindful, solution-focused, and empathetic approach to therapy. Niti specializes in the areas of Anxiety, Depression, Familial and Intimate Relationship Issues, Grief, Life Transitions, Self Care, & Trauma.
Niti is a North Carolina native and graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. From there, she went on to graduate school at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she obtained a Master's Degree in Social Work.
You can learn more about Niti or set up a consultation or appointment over at www.gracefullybalancedcounseling.com,
find her on Facebook Here. Or reach out to her via email at Niti@gracefullybalancedcounseling.com
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