Mindfulness is the act of living in the moment and being aware of your surroundings and behavior while focusing on the now and the present.
It is a philosophy as well as a way of life that encourages active engagement and concentration on the present, taking each moment with complete command and control of your thoughts and actions.
The most basic aim of mindfulness is to bring positivity and accountability to our lives for a more immersive living experience and better control of our actions and circumstances.
It is a means of making our lives healthier and more productive by actively working towards the state we want to achieve with complete dedication.
We can easily incorporate mindfulness into our busy routines and daily life by investing some time in mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to slowly train our mind and body for the most effective application of mindfulness over time.
The Basics of Mindfulness Meditation
Let us explore the underlying philosophy and theoretical, as well as scientific, grounds that explain how engaging in mindful meditation is a fantastic investment of your time and effort.
a) What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness is a mental technique of bringing one’s attention purposefully to present experiences without exacting judgment or projecting negativity.
Mindfulness meditation is a system of concentrated practices that aim to train the brain to make mindfulness a normal part of the brain’s psychological processes.
It incorporates practices that bring each of the senses into an agreement by focusing the attention and concentration of the mind to take in each aspect of the present with positivity and decisive, conscious actions and reactions.
It leads to more control over our thoughts and actions and a greater appreciation for life and the exceptional moments of everyday life that we take for granted.
It teaches the brain to take in the complete range of stimuli of any presently occurring situation and use it to create a feedback loop of emotions, thoughts, and actions based on positivity and control.
Deeply embedded in the Buddhist tradition, mindfulness meditation has gained increasing attention and traction across the world as repeated scientific studies have proven the effectiveness and benefits of mindfulness meditation for psychological and physical health.
b) The Scientific Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Since the early 1970s to date, multiple scientific studies across various disciplines have proven the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation for mental and physical health in a wide range of applications.
From combating depression, reducing stress and anxiety, and treating drug addictions to helping reduce symptoms of psychological disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, a plethora of evidence exists that supports the health benefits of incorporating mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based interventions into our daily lives.
Institutions worldwide have designed and applied mindfulness-based programs in schools, prisons, hospitals, retirement homes and other environments to encourage a wide range of outcomes such as healthy aging, weight management, anger control, athletic performance, and behavior therapy.
Several independent scientific studies have proven that mindfulness meditation is positively linked to psychological and physical well-being and can help counter the effects of overthinking and worrying by bringing changes to biological pathways that benefit the overall health of the body and mind.
Mindfulness meditation also strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation, thereby helping the body fight against and avoid diseases and can lower the risks of developing conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease in people of all ages.
c) The Principles of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has evolved from the Buddhist doctrine of sati or smtri, which means “to remember” and “to be aware.”
The following core principles form the basis of Mindfulness and the practice of mindfulness meditation in its modern form:
Mindfulness meditation encourages separating oneself from delivering the automatic judgment of like or dislike and good or bad related to our experiences. Instead, it helps us to find deeper meaning and purpose to occurrences to understand their relevance in our lives.
Mindfulness meditation aims to teach our minds to enact patience and avoid instinctive reactions to experiences in our lives to gain more control over our emotions and actions so that we can consciously take positive and meaningful steps for every moment.
One core principle of mindfulness meditation is keeping our minds open to new experiences and fully appreciating and immersing oneself in every moment. It helps us enjoy the complete range of perceptions that life has to offer without shielding ourselves due to fear of harm and mistrust.
iv) Awareness of Emotions
Mindfulness meditation teaches us to pay more attention to our instincts and emotions and to read each situation with objective clarity while trusting our own decisions. It aims to give us more information about our thoughts and feelings, so that we can make sure to react positively in any given circumstance.
v) Experience of the Self
Mindfulness Meditation concentrates our attention on our physical selves. It allows us to take in the input from each of our senses in their entirety without filtering the undesirable emotions that we unconsciously ignore.
A primary principle of mindfulness meditation is teaching us acceptance for all the occurrences and experiences in our lives and considering the underlying connections and deeper meanings and reasons behind each moment. It teaches us to think of life as an interconnected series of events that help us take positive actions to help us achieve our goals.
A core pillar of mindfulness meditation is teaching the brain to get rid of negative emotions and freeing the senses and the mind from clouded thoughts so that we can bring our complete attention to the present. It helps us understand each passing moment’s significance and helps enrich our lives with positive, meaningful experiences.
d) How to Prepare for Mindfulness Meditation
Finding and cultivating the right atmosphere and frame of mind for mindfulness meditation is essential. Creating the right ambiance will benefit your focus and help you keep your mind away from distractions, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the meditative experience.
Mindfulness Meditation is always a combined effort between the mind, body, and spirit. Preparing for this journey means bringing improvement to all aspects of your well-being. Incorporating a healthy diet, exercise, and suitable mental activities in your daily life are as important as the actual meditative experience.
Once you’ve set your mind to achieving success and growth in your life through mindfulness, follow this simple checklist to ensure that your surroundings are fine-tuned for the best possible experience when you begin your meditation.
- Set a proper time that suits you best.
- Find a comfortable chair, sofa, or cushion.
- Wear something clean and comfortable.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting and fresh air.
- Find a spot without too many distractions, away from the television or computer.
- Reduce the chances of you getting disturbed as much as you can.
- Maintain proper posture, keep your back straight to allow good blood circulation.
- Take deep breaths and start with a relaxed, calm mind.
If you have catered to all these points, select one of the meditation techniques from the guide below and begin your transformative journey towards incorporating positivity and mindfulness into your everyday life.
The Five Types of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is about bringing your focus and awareness to concentrate on your body, mind, and senses in such a way that cultivates a conscious knowledge of the presence of each of these aspects and their existence in the present. This may seem challenging to do, but you can teach your mind and body to make mindfulness a conscious part of everyday life by repeating simple meditative exercises such as the ones listed below.
Here is a list of incredibly easy to learn and effective mindfulness meditation techniques and activities that you can incorporate in your day to day routine. Each method focuses on one specific sense and aspect of the mind or body and slowly brings these senses towards conscious awareness of the present.
a) The Meditation of Breath
This meditation is designed to cultivate mindfulness by focusing on your breath. You must not control or regulate your breathing, but instead, you must focus on it and become aware that it is happening. This meditation relaxes and refreshes the mind while creating a sense of being alive and well, resulting in positive thoughts and actions throughout the day.
- Sit in a comfortable place, and keep your back upright.
- Slowly breathe in and out and relax your mind.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Feel the air going into your lungs and coming out.
- Concentration on the sensations and feelings that the breathing produces.
Every time you feel that your mind is wandering, slowly bring your concentration back to your breathing. It would be best if you did this without judgment and anger or annoyance. Also accept that it is okay for the mind to wander, in due time your mind will learn to focus.
b) The Meditation of Body
This meditative technique can be combined with other types and can also be done on its own. This technique is designed to bring your focus and concentration on your body, its movements and sensations.
- Sit in a comfortable place, upright and away from distractions.
- Slowly begin concentrating on each part of your body from head to toe.
- Take note of each movement, sensation, and feeling that you may experience.
- Slowly move from the top of your head to your toes, one after the other.
- Try to notice new sensations and feelings that arise.
Initially, there may be a sense of discomfort as you notice entirely new sensations and movements that you may have never noticed before. That is because your mind was subconsciously filtering out the feedback from your body, leading to dullness and loss of awareness. Regularly engaging in this type of mindfulness meditation can bring your senses to fully appreciate the intricacies of the body and create more mindfulness towards your physical well-being.
c) The Meditation of Sound
This type of mindfulness meditation is aimed at creating an awareness of your surroundings. It firmly anchors your attention and concentration to the present moment, and slowly you can train your mind to always take in the things happening around you in detail.
- Sit comfortably, upright, in a place with fresh air.
- Regulate your breathing and calm your mind.
- Bring your attention to the sounds around you.
- Notice all the ambient noise arising around you from everywhere.
- Bring your mind to focus on single sounds one by one.
At first, you may not notice any sound. That is because your thoughts are cluttering your mind and creating noise. Slowly try to silence your mind and pay attention to the sounds around you. After a bit of practice, you will ultimately bring peace to your mind and silence your thoughts. That is the ultimate goal of this meditation technique.
d) The Meditation of Thoughts
This meditation technique is an amazing way to create awareness of your thoughts. With this type of mindfulness meditation, you can teach your brain to consider each thought as it arises and fade without judgment and complete acceptance.
- Sit comfortably, upright, in a place without distraction.
- Let your thoughts come and go as they please.
- Listen to your thoughts while staying distant like an observer.
- Observe the pattern of thoughts as they arise and transform.
- Do not focus on any single thought; let them arise and fade naturally.
This meditation technique is difficult at first because your mind naturally focuses on each arising thought. With time and practice, you can teach your brain to observe each arising thought from a distance and consider the patterns and behavior of your thoughts.
e) The Meditation of Feelings
This type of mindfulness meditation is designed to make your mind aware and conscious of all the feelings and emotions that arise in the brain. It creates a sense of connection and acceptance, as well as an atmosphere of curiosity.
- Sit in a comfortable place, upright and with fresh air.
- Relax your mind and body.
- Focus on the emotions and feelings that arise in your mind.
- Let each emotion progress, do not react to them.
- Observe each emotion without judgment with complete acceptance.
Usually, we judge our emotions and feelings, and we sometimes ignore them as they are unfavorable or inconvenient. This mediation teaches the brain to treat each emotion and feeling with complete acceptance and without judgment, it teaches us to create a greater understanding of ourselves while creating positive associations at the same time.
Mindfulness Practices for Everyday Life
Incorporating mindfulness into everyday activities from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night can help you cultivate a healthy mental state throughout the day.
By consciously modulating your thoughts and actions throughout the day, you can teach your brain to practice mindfulness in whatever situation you may encounter instinctively.
Remember, the purpose of mindfulness is to root your senses and consciousness into the present, with gratitude and acceptance, without judgment.
When you spend the day cultivating mindfulness in every activity and task you undertake, you can begin enjoying the experiences you encounter.
You can work towards your personal goals and objectives with the conscious knowledge that what you sow today, you will reap tomorrow.
Let us look at how you can practice mindfulness in everyday life throughout the day with easy-to-follow tips and tricks.
a) Mindfulness in the Morning
Beginning the day with the right attitude can make a world of difference.
The mental tone you set after you wake up influences your thoughts, actions, and interactions with others throughout the day.
Here are a few tips on how to wake up with complete awareness and mindfulness to create an atmosphere of productivity and positivity to carry you through the day effortlessly.
i) Wake Up Early
Waking up early is the best way to align your circadian rhythm with the natural progression of the day to make sure that your mind and body progress in a pattern that is well suited for the activities of everyday life.
When we wake up, the mind begins in the Alpha-wave pattern, which inspires creativity and focus. You can use this energy to fuel your working day with the willpower that naturally comes to the mind when you align correctly with the progression of the day.
ii) Begin The Day With Gratitude
Beginning the day with a mindset of gratitude, thankfulness, and acceptance is the first act of mindfulness.
You can do it every day.
It would help if you accepted that you are alive and well and can spend the day like you wish to experience it.
This mindfulness exercise puts your brain in the right position in terms of thought patterns, which reflects throughout the day by giving you an early dose of positivity and gratitude.
iii) Create A Schedule And Set Goals
Stress from the previous day can make your brain start working in overdrive. This leads to a buildup of negative behavior and thought patterns.
You start obsessing about all the work you must do while decreasing your ability to accomplish your tasks effectively.
To avoid this, you can plan your day by creating small, achievable goals and concentrating on them individually.
This not only spares you the stress of overthinking but also gives you a way to bring mindfulness into your work by creating a plan that you can easily follow for maximum productivity.
b) Mindfulness in the Afternoon
Around the middle of the day, the brain is working in the beta-wave pattern. This brain state inspires productivity, awareness, and deep thought.
Utilizing this state to incorporate mindfulness at the peak of the day with short exercises is a great way to practice effective mindfulness and accountability daily.
i) Take A Moment To Focus
During the afternoon, when you have settled comfortably in your environment and are well on your way to completing your daily goals, take short breaks at regular intervals to re-focus and re-energize your awareness and consciousness by practicing short mindfulness meditation exercises whenever possible.
Although it may seem that you cannot even take a five-minute break, you will find it surprising that breaking away for a moment to bring mindfulness back into your thoughts and actions has an incredibly refreshing and energizing effect.
ii) Be Attentive To Your Body
Throughout the day, your mind and body will give you clues to their state if you are mindful of them. It is easy to begin ignoring the mind and body when you enter your workflow.
Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of our body, mind, and surroundings always to be able to recognize the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that arise.
Being attentive to your body is a daily mindfulness practice that can go a long way.
It helps you take your meals at the right time, enabling you to face each arising situation with focus, courage, and awareness.
iii) Do A Quick Mindfulness Meditation
This is a good time to execute a short mindfulness meditation exercise.
We recommend using the breathing meditation technique to bring your body and mind to the present and activate your senses to enact mindfulness and accountability throughout the day.
You can also do any mindfulness meditation of your choice; it depends entirely on your preference and personal choice.
c) Mindfulness in the Evening
After you have ended your workday and are ready to wind-up and head back home, it is essential to include some necessary mindfulness practices to ensure that you do not carry negative emotions for the rest of the day while putting your mind in the right state to unwind and relax.
i) End Your Workday With Acceptance
Sometimes we forget about all the things we have accomplished and instead focus on all the things we could not do.
It is essential to end your workday with the acceptance and knowledge that you have given your best to the day and that you have accomplished many things to the best of your abilities.
Mindfulness is about focusing on what you have done for the better, rather than what you could not accomplish. There is no such thing as a failure, that is the philosophy of mindfulness.
Ii) Connect With Your Family
Carrying around the stress of work can have negative effects on your family life.
You end up thinking about all the things you need to do tomorrow, without focusing on the people around you.
With a conscious effort towards mindfulness at home, you can learn to take each moment as it comes and enjoy the time you spend with the people you love.
Do a quick mindfulness meditation after you get home to refresh your attention and energies for an immersive and involved experience at home with your family and friends.
Iii) Be Mindful Of Your Meals
Sometimes we forget that what we feed the body is what we feed the mind.
Gorging yourself on unhealthy food just because you are hungry means that you are slipping from your mindfulness approach.
Be mindful of your diet and make health-conscious meal decisions that can bring you a balance of nutrients.
This not only helps keep your mind and body in good shape, but it also helps to boost morale and energy as your body responds positively to the good foods you eat.
d) Other Daily Mindfulness Practices
i) Take Short Mindful Breaks
Be sure to incorporate periods of meditation and reflection into your day.
This helps you sort out and acknowledge the build-up of thoughts, emotions, and feelings that collect throughout the day and make sense of them.
Mindfully meditating on your experiences throughout the day at regular intervals helps you better understand the reasons behind each experience and allows you to align yourself with the things that bring the most positivity and benefit to your life.
ii) Do Not Avoid and Do Not Judge
We often find ourselves running away from unpleasant situations or trying to avoid certain aspects of life throughout the day.
This goes against the philosophy of mindfulness as it teaches us to bring attention, focus, gratitude, acceptance, and non-judgment to every moment in our life.
When we try to avoid and judge certain aspects, we are in fact trying to counter our own emotions and feelings.
This not only creates long-lasting negative effects on the mind, it also creates a pattern of bad habits that are opposite to the teachings of mindfulness.
Remember to practice acceptance, gratitude, and non-judgment throughout the day.
Start Practicing Mindfulness Daily
By incorporating these easy mindfulness practices and techniques in our daily life, we can, over time, learn to instinctively create positive thoughts and actions in everything we do.
Mindfulness is a complete way of life and it must encompass all aspects of our interactions in order to successfully transform our actions and thoughts for the better.
Try to add these easy mindfulness practices to your daily life and record your progress to bring better optimization to your practices and to bring mindfulness, awareness, and consciousness to your life.
Common Questions Related to Mindfulness Meditation
Now that you have learned so much about mindfulness, including the core concepts and fundamental goals of incorporating mindfulness into our lives, and the practices and meditations to help you do that, we can now move on to answering some of the common questions that can arise in everyone’s mind regarding mindfulness.
Often, after you have tried all the meditation techniques and practiced mindfulness for some time, you may encounter some confusing or difficult points for which you may need advice or guidance.
Here are some of the commonly encountered problems and issues that you may face with tips on how to solve them and move forward with practicing mindfulness and meditation every day.
Q: How Long Should I Practice Mindfulness Meditation Each Day?
Now that you have learned how to perform mindfulness meditation, you might be asking yourself, “How long do I need to meditate every day?”
The answer is simple. You can meditate for as long as you like!
The trick is to find the perfect balance between your work and personal life and to incorporate mindfulness meditation into your day.
Regarding how long a single meditation session should be continued, the answer is as long as it takes for you to bring your mind back to the present, to complete awareness and consciousness.
If you can achieve that within five minutes, then that is all the time you need for your meditation.
If it takes an hour to complete the process, you can take out one hour each day to perform your mindfulness meditation.
Every person is different, and as some people might need to meditate at multiple times throughout the day, some people may find it easier to meditate at one time for longer periods.
It depends entirely on your personal preferences and requirements.
Q: How Do I Know If I Am Doing the Meditation Exercises Properly?
As we have mentioned in the step-by-step tutorials, performing meditation exercises is easy and straightforward.
If you are worried about completing the exercises incorrectly, you can reread the instructions to review the process.
The secret to performing meditation exercises properly is finding the setting, environment, and mental space that works best FOR YOU!
There is no wrong way of meditation as long as you remember the goals and aims of the process and achieve the objectives of the meditation, which is to bring your mind to greater awareness of its surroundings and of the body, including the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that you encounter.
If you can achieve these goals, you do not need to worry about making mistakes during meditation because it is always a personal journey where you must find the balance that feels right to you.
Q: Why Is Mindfulness Meditation Not Working For Me? (or) How Do I Know That the Mindfulness Meditation Exercises are Working?
If you feel that you cannot achieve the objectives of your meditation exercises and if it seems that you cannot bring your mind to focus, there is no need to worry.
Even though at first it may seem like the meditation exercises are not making a difference, the fact is that your mind and body might need some time to adjust to the new thought patterns and mental states that are produced during meditation.
During this time, you may feel that you are performing the meditation exercises in the wrong way or that the meditation is not working out for you, but in fact, your brain and body are preparing themselves and getting used to the process of mindfulness and awareness.
The trick is to keep yourself motivated and never give up.
With time and practice, you will be able to bring your mind to the perfect state of awareness and consciousness, the goal of mindfulness meditation.
Q: Are There Any Alternatives To Mindfulness Meditation?
If you feel that mindfulness meditation is not for you, or if it seems that you are not able to practice mindfulness meditation even after a lot of effort, then you can use some alternative means of practicing mindfulness and meditation in your daily life.
There are several ways that you can practice mindfulness and meditation every day, and it does not have to be restricted to the methods mentioned in this guide.
Taking a walk through nature, swimming, drawing, painting, walking your dog, and other activities that can bring your mind to a peaceful and focused state is an excellent way to practice mindfulness.
Remember, meditation is not limited by space or body movements, meditation is an internal process that can be done anywhere and in many ways.
You can even practice meditation while you are cooking, working, or reading, the choice is entirely up to you.
As we said before, mindfulness is not just a concept or a philosophy; it is a system of practices and methods that can help us lead a full and enjoyable life by focusing on the present and being thankful for our lives.
It helps us see the world in a new light by teaching us to let go of prejudice, judgment, and stress of the unknown.
Mindfulness brings us new knowledge and understanding regarding our feelings, emotions, and thoughts. It helps us utilize this information to make conscious decisions that can help us achieve our goals.
By bringing our mind to the present and leaving behind negative thoughts and emotions, we can give new meaning and purpose to our lives and enjoy and interact with each moment as we experience it.
Incorporating mindfulness into our daily lives is easy and straightforward and can be done by only becoming more aware of our actions, thoughts, and surroundings.
By following this simple guide, we are sure that you can learn and practice mindfulness every day and bring positivity and success to your life. We hope that your journey towards mindfulness, consciousness, awareness, and accountability is fruitful and enjoyable, and we wish you good luck with the present and the future.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.