Brief meditation (click to listen to a sample meditation)
The use of mindfulness meditation in healthcare has grown out of discoveries about the mind-body connection as it relates to health and illness. It is now known that thoughts, beliefs, emotions and stress all have a great impact on health and illness. Improving the ability to focus attention promotes deep relaxation and being more mindful helps to break the destructive habitual responses to stress. Mindfulness meditation is now being used in healthcare settings to help patients with cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, addictions, chronic pain and more. It can also be used to improve relationships and to rediscover your self.
What is Mindfulness Meditation? Simply put, it is an approach to meditation that includes mindful self-reflection, an awareness of how the mind is operating, thinking and feeling at any given moment, what the body is experiencing, and what is going on around you. It is non-judgmental. If the mind has wandered, mindfulness meditation seeks only to be aware that the mind has wandered and to bring it back to a focal point.
Mindfulness meditation means paying attention to the present moment without trying to accomplish anything. It is the practice of letting thoughts move as they naturally will.
Most often our daily thinking is consumed with both conscious and unconscious beliefs and thoughts that we seem to take for granted or do not take the time to observe and investigate. It is what we think that causes our emotions and sometimes thinking causes us to suffer because we are clinging to something or resisting something. Meditation teaches us to stay out of these cognitive habits.
Through meditation we learn impermanence of life. Things come and go. Life begins and ends. Thoughts come and go. Circumstances change, or our thoughts about circumstances change. Mindfulness Meditation welcomes all of the mind’s activity and thoughts. It gives permission for the mind to have whatever experiences it has. It allows for any negative experiences to exist as well, allowing thoughts to just be there like “background noise”, without judging it as bad or as good. In Mindfulness Meditation, we can choose to pay attention to that noise, or just let it be.
The practice of Mindful Meditation invites new thinking and action, not by avoiding the unpleasant or trying to “fix” the way we think, rather to accept all that thinking is, and learn to be more at peace with our mind.
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