Until recently, the concept of meditation may have evoked an image of an isolated monastery, home to people committed to achieving a state of Nirvana, or some equally peaceful ambition. However, with social media increasing the trend of mental wellbeing, meditation has become a progressively popular activity within mainstream society.
It may be easy to label meditation as a wishy-washy pseudoscience or a shallow internet fad. But there is solid scientific evidence to support the idea that meditation has a significant positive impact on the brain.
A common misconception is that the only purpose of meditation is to completely empty the mind of thoughts and feelings, and to remain in this blank state for as long as possible. In actuality, meditation is about training the mind in awareness and perspective. It is an exercise that takes practice, like building up a muscle or learning to draw.
Mindfulness is another social media buzzword that goes hand-in-hand with meditation. Linked to mental wellbeing, mindfulness is about being anchored and engaged in the present moment, with no judgement.
The benefits of meditation to develop mindfulness include greater mental clarity and lowered levels of stress. Psychology research confirms that mindfulness meditation contributes to physical changes within the brain. These changes nurture the parts of the brain involved in mental wellbeing and shrink the Amygdala which is responsible for producing feelings of anxiety, fear and general stress.
Mindfulness meditation doesn’t have to be done in a guided yoga class or at a meditation club. With a dedicated mindset, it can be practiced at home.
It is important to remember that mindfulness meditation is not an immediate cure-all for mental distress. It won’t magically erase all the negative and distracting thoughts jumping around inside your head. Instead, it will bring attention to the breath and, with practice and consistent application, it will improve your overall mentality.
To reap the benefits of mindfulness meditation, try this process for a few minutes each day:
Find a comfortable place you’re happy to sit in for a while. This place should ideally be quiet, with few distractions.
Focus on your breath
This step goes beyond consciously breathing in and out in the slow and steady fashion you might expect. Whilst taking belly-deep breaths is an important aspect of this process, consciousness of how your breath feels as it flows within your body is just as critical. Use these thoughts to ground yourself each time your mind starts to wonder to unwanted thoughts. With practice, this technique will help you to stay centred and let your agitations flow away.
Take a stretch
Another way to practice your meditation is to involve light movement with the flow of your breathing. If your time and space allow, consider performing a few mobile stretches such as cat cows or walking out a downward dog to release any tension from the body. Of course, these are just suggestions, and you should feel free to perform any comfortable stretches that you find tension relieving when you get the chance!
To help you get started on your mindfulness journey, try also introducing our soothing Sedistress Calm Mind supplement into your daily routine. Our formulation harnesses the properties of Passionflower to help create a calmer and clearer headspace.
For more ideas on how to boost your mental wellbeing, head over to our Instagram @bodsciencelifestyle today!