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Natural New You (Part 3) Mindfulness practices and meditations

Welcome to the third part of our Natural new You blog series. In part 2 we touched on the subject of mindfulness briefly, explaining the basics of what it means to be mindful and how it can help us in our ever fast paced modern lives filled with digital distractions, whether we be at home or at the workplace. In this third part of our Natural New You blog series, we will be looking into how to easily introduce meditation and mindfulness practices into your daily or weekly routines. Before we start, I would like to share a quote from Buddha that I think will help with the focus of this blog and to formulate the intentions of the practices that will be discussed:

Buddha Quote

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." Buddha

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a lifestyle choice that can help you to become aware of the things in your life that are really important at the present moment, helping you to take the necessary steps to move away from any negative thought patterns that can often creep up on us in day to day life. Learning to let go of any grudges and becoming non-judgemental (of yourself as well as others) will help you to deepen the mindfulness practices.

The simplest way to explain what you should do, is this: step fully into your own shoes, and start to live in the present moment letting go those often gnawing past anxieties (or even the future ones for that matter), pay attention to your present needs and to the tasks at hand.

Our thoughts are extremely important, so it becomes necessary to pay attention to them and listen to the messages you are trying to tell yourself, whilst making sure that your thoughts about you and those around you stay positive. Thoughts are very much like seeds and they can grow, so try your best to have a positive self-image and a positive outlook in the various situations you find yourself a part of.

"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." Buddha
A Harvard study found evidence that practicing mindfulness, can actually change the makeup of grey matter of the brain. If you would like to see more, follow the link for the study below.

If you are interested in becoming more mindful after reading the above, you are in the right place! It is really easy: you can start off by taking 5 minutes daily to practice the below breathing activity and meditation.

Just Breathe:

One of the easiest, quickest and most accessible ways to drop into the space of a meditative and mindful practice, is using a breathing exercise. It is simple and extremely effective and it can be done anywhere; as soon as you feel things are starting to spin out of control or you feel the need to quieten your mind, take 5 minutes or so for yourself in a calm and quiet location. You can begin by focusing your mind solely on your breath, feeling the deepening of the breath in your abdomen and not in the upper chest. Using your diaphragm, take full and deep breaths until you feel centred and calm. Many people use between 3 and 5 deep breaths as a quick way to bring about mental clarity and focus but you can do it for as long as you feel you need.

Some good times to stop and breathe:

Before a meditation

When anxiety or troubles arise

Before bed

Whenever you want to focus on the task in hand

Before making big decisions

5 Minute Meditation:

If you are new to these practices, then the 5-minute meditation may be just the thing for you. You can try a morning meditation or an evening one and see which time of day works best for you (if not both).

You will need:

A timer (you can use your phone or a kitchen timer)

A quiet, calm, comfy and uncluttered space

Optionally, some relaxing music or a meditation CD

5 minutes

Take the time to retreat to your calm and uncluttered space.

Start with three initial deep and long breaths, focusing the mind on bringing fresh clean air into your lungs and feeling the breath deep within your abdomen. When releasing the breath, you may want to focus or visualize any feelings of stress or worry leaving your body through the air.

As you breathe through the meditation, try to clear your mind of any thoughts of the day and become still and present. Try to empty your mind and just relax until the meditation timer goes off.

You may want to keep a meditation journal to record any experiences or feeling that may come to you during your meditations; it is a great way to reflect on patterns of what you may need more or less of in your life.

Tags: meditation, mindfulness, Buddha, Lifestyle, Stress, Anxiety, relaxation, calm, breathe


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