Wellness Series: Self-Care Meditation and Mindfulness
Hello to all! I hope that you are finding the information that I am providing helpful, at least in some small way. My hope is that I will help to foster some form of inspiration, desire, or drive to want to know more about self-care and the importance of it. I am continuing the topic of self-care for one more week, wrapping up by discussing Meditation & Mindfulness. This will be my last segment on self-care and next week we will be on to something new!
So, let us start off by discussing the two, meditation and mindfulness. How are they similar? How are they different? How do they work?
Mindfulness is that of becoming aware, becoming aware of your senses and noting each one. It is becoming aware of your breathing and how deep or how shallow it might be or what it feels like to breath. It is becoming aware to the here and now and where you are right now at this very moment. It is becoming present to yourself and your surroundings. It is noticing and becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings.
Meditation is that of focus and concentration and is often done in a seated position, but not always. Meditation is turning one’s focus inward. Much like mindfulness, meditation is becoming aware but more so an awareness of your inner self. A core part of meditation is becoming mindful and gaining the ability to direct your mind to thoughts of your inner self.
So, as you can see, there are components of both meditation and mindfulness within each other. You can use them both at different times and together to help with self-care. Which is better? Both are great and serve a purpose for different needs at different times. There are times that I need to practice mindfulness to enhance my listening skills when talking with individuals. However, there are times that I work on meditation when I am alone and need to focus on me!
Benefits of using Meditation and/or Mindfulness:
The benefits for both are many and vary depending on the individual.
- Reduce stress
- Reduce anger
- Reduce pain
- Reduce and/or control anxiety and depression
- Promote healthy emotional wellbeing
- Improve overall health
- Improve attention spans
- Gain self-awareness
- Improve sleep
- Can help with addiction and recovery
- Can help with emotional healing – During emotional healing, it is possible that individuals can become very emotional, which is very good. Crying eliminates toxins that our bodies have built up in the form of tears!
Types of Meditation and or Mindfulness:
There are many types of Meditation out there, but here are a few that I have chosen to discuss. The ones that I have chosen have both mindfulness and meditation components. I have also added a couple helpful links for more in-depth resources to help you get started on your meditation/mindfulness journey.
- Focused Meditation – Using the five senses: identify five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
- Mindfulness Meditation – You can pick one single item, such as a candle flame, to focus on and concentrate on while training your mind in being mindful. Do not wander away from the thought of the flame. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to the flame.
- Movement Meditation – Usually in the form of Yoga and becoming aware of your inner self.
- Transcendental Meditation – This one is the most popular and uses sounds and repetition. “OM” is usually associated with this form of meditation.
- Spiritual Meditation – A spiritually-related focus.
How to Start:
Just do it. Just try something. Start small and try to focus on your breathing for one minute. When your mind wanders bring it back to your breathing just for one minute. During that minute think of what your breathing is like. Is it shallow or is it deep? What does it feel like? What does your nose feel like when you breathe in and what does your mouth feel like with you exhale?
Maybe take one minute to reflect on your day and think of all the positive aspects of it. It’s important to focus on only the positive, and when you think of anything negative gently go back to a positive for the day.
Take one minute to sit down and focus on what your mind feels like and what it might look like now at this moment. Think about how to improve your mindset. Does your mind feel tense? Take a deep breath and envision your mind relaxing and unwinding.
Remember in working with yourself to be gentle. Do not get frustrated if or when your thoughts wander, just gently bring your thoughts back around. We need to train and retrain and being gentle with ourselves is important. When we get frustrated, we often give up. The more you work at meditation and mindfulness the easier it will become and the more benefits that you will see.
There are also many guided meditation resources on the internet that can be very helpful in just starting your journey. I have included two of my favorite YouTube links below. I have also found a wonderful app that has been a very helpful resource. I have added it below to the resources.
There are many benefits from both mindfulness and meditation, but the main benefit is that it helps you to feel better. If you are doing a form of self-care and in the end, you don’t feel better, chances are you are not doing it correctly or it just isn’t what you need right now and that’s okay. Finding what is best for you is an adventure so make it fun! I hope that you all have a positively blessed week!
Be GREAT this week!