Are you stressed, tired, impatient and at the end of your tether? It’s natural to feel fatigued when the dog days of summer bring this busy season to a close. Stress affects all areas of your life from the bedroom to the boardroom and you need to get back on top of your game. One of the easiest and most effective solutions to stress is mindful meditation.
Benefits of Mindful Meditation
Meditation is a brilliant way to ease tension, improve your sleep patterns, increase your level of focus and even out your temperament. A study by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that mindful meditation reduces the impacts of stress as well as mitigating the effects of depression and anxiety.
Meditation even helps to grow your brain! A study by NCCIH found that mindful meditation helps to activate the anterior cingulate cortex and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex while increasing amount of grey matter in the hippocampus and parietal lobe.
Stilling the Monkey Mind
It’s all good and expounding the benefits of mindful meditation, but anyone who has tried it will tell you just how difficult it can be. Sitting quietly for a few minutes sounds easy enough, until you start making shopping lists and conjuring witty comebacks to the argument you had with Doug from accounting.
Your mind just isn’t accustomed to being still and it can be annoyingly chatty when you are trying to focus on your breathing. The thing to remember is that meditation takes practice and it’s normal to experience the ‘monkey mind’ as you get the hang of it. This is part of the process and you will still be reaping the benefits.
Mindful Meditation Tips for Beginners
There are many tricks to stilling your mind. Start by enjoying a cup of Matcha Zen Tea. Studies show that matcha tea relaxes the body and helps focus the mind; the perfect combo for a successful meditation. Zen Buddhist monks have been using matcha tea as part of their meditation for over 900 years.
Once you’ve had a cuppa matcha, find a comfortable, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Turn off all your electronics and take the phone off the hook.
You don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor for mindful meditation. Sit, stand or lay down in a position that will keep you comfortable for the duration of your session.
Focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders, acknowledge your thoughts and then set them aside and take your attention back to your breath. You will probably have to do this several times during your meditation but, with practice, you’ll get better at it.
Start with short meditations and then add a few minutes every day. Aim for a twenty-minute session once a day.
Use a guided mindful meditation to help you to stay focused and prevent your mind from wandering.