Mindfulness Blog Series
While there is so much talk these days about mindfulness, many people struggle with what mindfulness is and how to achieve it.
Simply put, mindfulness means to be aware. Be aware of ourselves, our surroundings, our thoughts and feelings, and everything in between. It takes some focus and a lot of practice to pay attention. Many people use breathing techniques or other tools to obtain a state of mindfulness. These are all very helpful in supplementing our practice, but the truth is, there is no preparation, props, or other items that you need at your disposal. If you can focus your mind, you too can be mindful.
Keep reading for more common myths and misconceptions people have regarding mindfulness and meditation.
1. I don’t know how.
Many people think it’s too difficult or complicated to practice mindfulness and meditation, but the truth is, it’s simple. You don’t need a complicated ritual or tools to do it. If you can focus your attention on your breath, you can practice mindfulness.
2. I need to completely clear my mind of thoughts. This would be impossible to do! You are going to have thoughts, and that’s okay! The trick is to notice whenever you have a thought and bring your focus back to your breath. When being mindful, we can have thoughts, but we want to make sure that we just observe them without any judgement. When we can objectively observe our own thoughts and emotions, we can then have a much better understanding of ourselves and our circumstances, and how to cope with difficult situations.
3. Meditation means sitting in an awkward position. It’s true that mindfulness and meditation is identifiable by certain positions of the body. People commonly recognize the lotus sitting position in which one’s legs are crossed and each foot is placed on the opposite thigh. Other common bodily positions in mindfulness and meditation include hand positions called mudras, which can help us channel our energy and intentions. While these movements and positions can be extremely beneficial in enhancing our practice, the reality is that none of it is necessary. The most important factor is that you are comfortable and free of distractions. (See image below for four common hand gestures to boost your practice).
4. Mindfulness & Meditation is just some spiritual, religious thing.
Originated centuries ago, and widely recognized with Buddhism and Hinduism, the truth is, nearly all cultures and religions have adopted similar practices. Today, mindfulness and meditation have become mainstream and widespread. It is now often used as a tool to help relief stress, anxiety, and other medical conditions. In fact, some Western doctors are now even prescribing meditation for ailments such as chronic pain and anxiety.
5. I don’t want people to hear me chanting “OM”
A mantra is considered a sacred sound or words that are often used during meditation. Mantras can help you stay focused, relax more deeply, and they are even believed to cleanse and balance your chakras. While some people choose to include mantras in their meditation practice, it is never a requirement. (See image below for seven common mantras to balance your energy and heal your chakras).
6. People who meditate are always peaceful. On the contrary, it’s the individuals who do not have peace that should practice it the most. You do not have to feel happy and upbeat all the time. In fact, that is completely unrealistic. We are all human and have a multitude of emotions, thoughts, and experiences that shape us. Every single one of us can become cynical or pessimistic at times, and that’s okay. Luckily, we all also have the capability to turn to a natural and effective tool to manage those feelings. Mindfulness and meditation can help alleviate stress and anxiety and help provide clarity of mind when things are chaotic.
7. You have to be relaxed or in a “Zen State” to meditate. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People with high energy, nervous personalities, or Type A personalities, often benefit the most from maintaining a mindfulness practice. When our bodies are in a constant state of alertness, stress, or fear, it can cause burn out, exhaustion, lasting physical ailments, mental health impairments, and many other issues. Regardless of your state of mind, anyone can practice breathing techniques or simple exercises to engage the senses at anytime!
While there are a plethora of tools and different ways to execute your mindfulness and meditation practice, there are NO SET RULES. Whether or not you use vocalizations like mantras, or hand gestures like mudras, you can shape your practice into whatever you want it to be!
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A Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness to Improve Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
Stress alone is a large contributor to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other serious health conditions. It is predicted that stress is responsible for at least 120,000 deaths a year in the US. With the problem of stress in mind, it is imperative to find a way to relieve stress and help manage other mental health problems.
Mindfulness is a helpful tool for anyone, and it does not need to take up an excessive amount of time in your life. Still, practicing mindfulness can be difficult if you've never done it before. You might not know where to start or how to do it. But in Total Healing’s Mindfulness E-Course, you’ll learn the key tips and tricks for mindfulness. Once you have learned these tips, mindfulness will be an extremely easy and health-promoting tool that you can incorporate into your daily life.
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