Therapies and meditation practices that involve mindfulness, stress reduction and other relaxation techniques are useful tools to ensure your well being. In a fast-paced society where life’s demands involve juggling a job, house work, parenting responsibilities, health needs and relationship commitments, stress can take over. Practices that help you reduce this stress are vital to your well being.
Philosophy behind Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness is a term that is used in therapy and meditation circles and is derived from Buddhist meditation. At its simplest, it means that when thoughts or situations arise, you are able to process them without a high degree of judgment. You simply experience and accept things as they are. Therapeutic approaches and meditative practices based on this concept encourage you to be open to life’s occurrences whether good or bad, approaching life with a sense of curiosity and openness.
Example of Mindfulness Meditation
One example of a mindfulness meditation is to sit quietly with your eyes closed. You can do this sitting with your back upright and your feet on the floor, or you may lie down if you feel sitting will be too distracting. Focus on your breath and let the thoughts just arise on their own. As your daily stresses come to the surface, simply notice them. When negative feelings such as anger or fear come up for you, acknowledge them and then release them. The goal is to not let the mind analyze or judge things.
One way to tackle a need to judge or analyze thoughts that pop up during a mindfulness meditation is to formulate a question when a thought comes up for you. For example, you may be really upset because a friend has not returned your call today despite your urgent voicemail to her. Acknowledge that you are feeling upset or ignored and then formulate a question: How is Susan feeling today? Is she overwhelmed?
Mindfulness Stress Reduction
The stress response in humans has a place. In life situations where a challenging task or event presents itself, you need the emotional and physical ability to take steps to meet those demands. However, many of the events in life over which you have no control can be minimized by mindfulness meditation.
Studies show that mindfulness stress reduction is effective in lowering the number ruminating thoughts and distracting behaviors you have. It reduces stress and minimizes distress. In one study where a control group and treatment group were shown neutral images, the control group displayed more negative reactions in comparison to the group that had engaged in mindfulness practices involving deep breathing.
Any steps you can take to manage your stress will enhance your well being. With some life events, there is nothing you can do to control things. Mindfulness stress reduction and meditation helps to lower your stress and gives you more energy to approach life with a more open, positive and accepting outlook.