Mindful Meditation: Simple Meditation Techniques for Stress Reduction, Focus, and Change
By Brittany Zachary
As a busy mom, one thing I am told constantly is that I should make, “me time” for myself…that, “me” time will make me a better wife, mother, sister, friend, etc. While taking a walk or getting a massage will help me feel physically better, nobody talks about how much stress moms (including me) cause themselves during what are supposed to be relaxing experiences. There is an ongoing dialogue moms have in the back of their heads running all.of.the.time. How am I, or other moms, supposed to gain the benefits from eating better food and physical activity, if stress changes my body’s chemistry and my rambling thoughts make it difficult to select where to start first!?
After doing some research, I began to realize that I have always gone through the motions of trying to relax, but I don’t usually make a conscious decision to clear my head. I discovered that this concept is already a clinically proven idea called Mindfulness Meditation. Please use this blog as a guide to explore more about Mindfulness Mediation, and learn how to get started re-shaping your, “me time” today.
What is Mindful or Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindful or Mindfulness Meditation is a conscious decision to clear your mind and focus on a singular idea, subject, or goal.
Mindfulness Meditation will improve your physical health (brain chemistry) and emotional health.
Research studies show meditation can help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Boost the immune system
- Improve concentration
- And so much more!
While you can improve your vitality through meditation, we do recommend integrating it into your complete wellness plan which may include acupuncture and/or chiropractic care. (*Your specific health plan will be based on your health needs and goals).
How to start Mindfulness Meditation
You don’t need to be, “religious” or adhere to any philosophical beliefs to meditate. Meditation is great for those of us who want to improve our health and abilities to handle, “stressful” situations.
Before you sit down and try to clear your mind, be sure you are able to consistently dedicate the time to fully focus and meditate.
These meditation tips will help you improve your overall wellness:
- Be consistently prepared.
One of the major decisions you need to make before beginning a meditation routine is deciding your meditation environment. Your total meditation environment—where, length, and when—should always be the same. Every single day.
When—The key to meditation is to be actively awake and relaxed at the same time. Typically, people meditate in the morning or evening. (It’s okay though to do both!) Be careful not to meditate while being tired. You will fall asleep.
Length—Start with 10 minutes each day. After you have consistently done this for a couple of months, work up to 25 minutes each day.
Where—You need to have a quiet location that is not associated with sleep. Some places that would be good for meditating are—facing a wall or looking out over the water. Be sure you come back to the same place each day. You are training your mind and body to relax when you come to that spot.
- Be proper.
There is only one, “improper” or, “bad” way to meditate—that is lying down, because you fall asleep. You want to relax. NOT sleep. Your back should be straight, your tongue should be relaxed (not touching the roof of your mouth), and your eyes are ideally partially open.
- Be technical.
There are days when meditating will be easier than others. Remember that you are trying to loosely focus your body and mind in order to relax yourself. You don’t need to concentrate intensely. Some people use techniques like imagining an object or counting while slowly breathing in and out to help them meditate. Try one technique or a combination to see which one helps you relax the most.
- Be savvy.
Try charting your progress using a meditation app and use an app to help you focus based on your personal wellness goals. Here are my top 3 meditation app choices:
Headspace is a beautifully designed meditation app where users can access their personalized dashboard to track their progress. The app has a wide range of meditation sequences for all levels with varying time lengths. Headspace features a broad range of content for subscribed users including:
Personalized progress page
- Buddy system
- Foundation Level Courses
- Series Level Courses about health, relationships, performance, and more!
- SOS: A series of 2-minute meditation sessions created for when you don’t have time for a full session
- On the Go Meditation Sessions
- Desktop—you can access your Headspace version via desktop
- Mobile—You can access sessions to use offline on your mobile device by downloading them or using the mobile app
You’re never too young to start practicing mindfulness! In a fast-paced and distracted world, even kids need a time to take a step back to breathe and focus. You will not be disappointed with this free meditation app. Smiling Mind offers Mindfulness Meditation Programs for a plethora of groups as follows:
- Age 7-11
- Age 12-15
- Age 16-22
- Educators—teachers, counselors, team leaders, coaches, and more
- Sport—created in partnership with Cricket Australia’s Sport Psychology Team, Smiling Mind’s Sport Program helps athletes, “avoid negative thinking, underperformance and exhaustion and at the same time, promote heightened concentration, awareness and efficacy.”
- Corporate—this program focuses on Mindfulness Meditation in the workplace to help increase focus and productivity using clinically based strategies. The corporate program is by request only and is combined with live workshops.
MIND THE BUMP (FREE)
Becoming a parent is one of the most crucial times in life to practice mindfulness. The creators of Smiling Mind teamed up with Beyond Blue to make a wonderful (and FREE) app for both expecting moms AND dads. From acceptance to attention training, Mind the Bump is a meditation app which takes into account the specific stressors and new skills parents face during pregnancy through 24 months after birth.
There are many techniques and styles of meditation, but try not to become so caught up in finding a style that you never get started. Just meditating for 10 minutes during a day is a good place to start. Contact us today if you would like to schedule a consultation to see how we can help decrease your stress with complementary treatments such as acupuncture, guided meditation and more.