11 science-backed techniques will help you fall asleep, manage anger, fight stress and more.
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The ability to be fully present in the moment.
“I am here right now and in the moment, what’s the problem?” you might ask. The problem is that your brain is not. It travels back and forth between the past and future, preoccupied with plans and dreams. Being mindful means concentrating on what’s happening now. This includes:
In a nutshell, you must free your brain from every worry except for what’s happening right now. When you practice mindfulness, you nurture your curiosity about life in the present.
The most important rule in mindfulness: stop criticizing. Jodie Katz, M.D., Director at the Center for Integrative Medicine, The Valley Hospital explains that mindfulness should make you stop judging yourself and your experiences. It’s a break for your mind.
No, mindfulness is not about religion or spirituality.
It’s about changing the structure of your physical brain, which has been confirmed through numerous MRI-based experiments. You don’t have to be a Buddhist, you just have to believe in science.
The scientific research proving there are health benefits to mindfulness meditation contributed to its rise in popularity. Within the last 10 years, 8% of Americans started to practice general meditation. A brand new study revealed that approximately 75% of practitioners do mindfulness for general wellness, half of them for improving concentration and one third for reducing stress, anxiety, or depression.
Many CEOs practice mindfulness meditation: Arianna Huffington, Founder of Huffington Post, Steve Rubin, former CEO of United Fuels International, Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal Sea Foods, Rick Goings, CEO of Tupperware.
You’ll improve your performance at work, have more control over your thoughts, and boost your creativity.
Research shows it works:
Mindfulness meditation will help you process information and master new skills faster. You will be more emotionally stable and able keep cool under pressure.
Mindfulness has roots in Buddhism and Hinduism, and has been practiced in the East for thousands of years.
In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn, a student of Buddhism, founded the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Since then, researchers have developed a strong scientific base for mindfulness, exploring its biological and psychological impact on the mind and body.
Yes. It has been shown to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and lower stress hormones.
In short, mindfulness meditation helps you prevent stress-associated health problems like difficulty breathing, panic attacks or indigestion problems, and reduces pain intensity.
Stick to basic techniques or download apps that will help you out.
Basic techniques includes focus mindfulness, awareness mindfulness, shifting from focus to awareness mindfulness, and unconscious thinking. You can do these exercises anywhere: in the metro, at the conference, or during your lunch-break.
You just need to focus on your thoughts or something else. Try the following:
This kind of meditation is about focusing on your thoughts, not your surroundings. Try to observe thoughts from the outside. Sounds strange? Just follow these steps:
Shifting from Focus to Awareness
Watch your stream of consciousness dispassionately, then catch something from the stream and deliberately focus on it.
Here are some tips to make all types of meditation more effective:
You can find a coach or enroll in an online course.
Be careful when choosing a coach. Before hiring the one, ask the coach and yourself these questions:
There are some online-courses about mindfulness meditation. For example, Be Mindful. This online course is recognized by leading teaching institutions including Oxford University’s Mindfulness Centre. There is also an online course from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
These courses will give you more information about the theory of mindfulness in general, teach you some basic techniques, and help you make mindfulness part of your everyday life.
It depends on you and how you feel.
On average, people who are new to mindfulness meditation spend around 23 minutes practicing every day. And, of course, there are no limits. Just experiment with doing more or less and see how you feel. Studies show that the effects of meditation are already noticeable after 20 minutes of practice. That’s when the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain believed to relieve anxiety, is activated.
You can meditate for as long as you want, but definitely don’t force yourself. If you’re constantly looking at the clock to check if you’ve done your daily minimum, you’re likely to miss out on the benefits.
It’s best to meditate in the morning before breakfast and right after the work day ends. Morning sessions are easier because your mind isn’t occupied with all kinds of problems yet. After work, meditation will help you calm down and create a psychological barrier between work and personal life.
Psychologists don’t recommend meditating before going to bed at night. The aim of mindfulness meditation is not relaxation, but being fully aware and present. If you have no other time to meditate except late evening, it’s best to do so at least an hour before going to bed.
And remember: use mindfulness whenever you feel anxious, stressed, or depressed.
If you want hard data, track your progress with Welltory. Record how much time you spend meditating with an app like Headspace, then go to My Data tab to see how your meditation time affects your stress, energy, and productivity. Try different meditation techniques, then look for changes in your stress and energy levels to figure out which one works best for you.
Welltory Team, 23 Dec. 2021