Looking for natural ways to combat stress or anxiety? For many people, the answer is meditation and mindfulness. In this blog post, we endorse what therapists and bloggers believe about the benefits of mindfulness meditation. So what is mindfulness meditation? Through focus on the breath, awareness of the body and surrounding sensations of sound and feelings, meditation is achievable in embracing the present moment.
What we’ve got to acknowledge is that stress and worries are all in our mind, and we have the ability to choose one thought over another instead of getting caught up in a spiral of negative emotions.
It has been scientifically proven that mindfulness meditation can tackle stress and anxieties, improves self-esteem, sleep and awareness. Studies show that meditation training can improve the lives of those suffering with GAD (general anxiety disorder), mindfulness meditation training has increased in popularity over the last few years as an intervention to fight depression and other mental health issues.
At first meditation may be challenging to get used to, you need to learn how to focus and observe thoughts, rather than analyzing them. Only practice, focus and the desire to meditate on a regular basis, results will become visible.
During a 2014 Ted Talks event, therapist, Dr. Kasim Al-Mashat discussed mindfulness meditation, he explains that “with the advances in neuroscience, mindfulness meditation has been shown to change the structure of our brain. Even in eight weeks in mindfulness programmes, practicing forty, forty-five minutes a day, it can improve concentration, decision making, compassion and life satisfaction.”
Mindfulness blogger, Catherine at The Blissful Mind first discovered mindfulness/meditation a couple of years ago, she revealed how she became interested in it,” I found a mediation challenge on another blog. They were offering a prize for anyone who completed the challenge, so that was my incentive to try! I didn’t win, but discovered that I really enjoyed meditation…so I kept doing it!”
Catherine describes the benefits of mindfulness meditation, “meditation allows me to be less reactive to certain situations. If I’m feeling frustrated, I remind myself to bring awareness to the situation and meditate before I react negatively (and regret it later!)”.
We also asked lifestyle blogger, Sinead Crowe (love style mindfulness) talks about mindfulness and how it can help anxiety, though she doesn’t recommend reading books on it, she says,” find a way of relaxing that you can fit into your everyday like yoga or meditation. I definitely found that being really open and talking about it a lot helped me hugely because hiding it and dealing with it yourself just increases the anxiety!”
Sinead shares the noticeable benefits of mindfulness in daily life,” Mindfulness to me just means being more aware of yourself and your day. Not just going through the motions and taking time to fully enjoy everything you do, even if it is just having a cup of tea or cooking dinner! It helps because you can enjoy the moment and be in the moment stopping your mind from racing to the past or future!”
Catherine’s blog: http://theblissfulmind.com/
Sinead’s blog: http://www.lovestylemindfulness.co.uk/
Words by Erin Curran