Meditation and Mindfulness for Mind, Body, Health, and Harmony
Dr. Cynthia provides support for those interested in holistic approaches to better health, offering meditation and mindfulness for mind, body, health, and harmony. As the World Health Organization’s constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” We at the Holistic Healing Heart Center firmly believe in the power of meditation to improve health, balance, and overall well-being, when used correctly.
What is Mindfulness?
At its purest, mindfulness is simply being present, aware of our surroundings and actions, and not getting overwhelmed by occurrences in our immediate environment. Everyone possesses the ability to be mindful, it is simply something that needs to be accessed. Ways to develop your capacity for mindfulness include meditation, whether seated, walking, standing, lying, or moving; taking short pauses in your daily activities; even combining meditation practice with activities such as yoga. In everyday life, an unmindful person can have trouble paying attention to tasks that require their focus. Their mind wanders, and moment to moment their continued efforts to stay on task can be exhausting. Mindfulness at work or study can do much to reduce stress and improve personal performance.
Mindfulness is not a practice that requires personal change, or the adoption of any new beliefs or obscure cultural practices. The effects of mindfulness are understood and called by many names in many different cultures. They benefit people around the world, helping them in their relationships and interactions with their loved ones, their friends and neighbors, colleagues, even the institutions and organizations with which they interact. Since mindfulness does not require dramatic personal change, it is far easier to succeed at than other practices that promise good health. All it requires is that participants take the time to bring the greater awareness that it grants them into their broader lives, in order to see the benefits it confers. Mindfulness is often employed in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and stress reduction programs because of the advantages it offers to those struggling with anxiety, depression, or stress.
Benefits of Mindfulness Exercises
Meditating can be undermined by a fixation on how it will benefit you. However, mindful practice has been scientifically observed to offer:
- Stress reduction
- Performance enhancement
- Greater insight and awareness
- Greater empathy
- Better sleep
- A better attention span
- Decreased job burnout
In clinical trials, evidence was gathered to indicate that mindful meditation is effective in combating:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
How to Begin Meditating
Meditation is a practice that can be approached from multiple avenues. Some people come at it from a spiritual angle: meditation as a means of connection to a god or the universe. Others view meditation as a way to relax their body, or their mind, or to refresh their emotional or mental energy. Regardless of the reasons people come to the practice, one thing that unites many is the initial difficulty people experience with it. Especially for those mired in hectic modern lives, the requirement to sit in silence and do nothing can be a tall order. However, everyone has to start somewhere, and there are plenty of tools and resources available to help beginners get started. Dr. Thaik co-leads a course on how to unlock better health through meditation. This course shares information on how meditation can facilitate insights that make lifestyle changes possible, changes that can improve a patient’s overall health and well-being.
The course includes:
- A focus on chronic pain, how it develops, and how it differs from acute pain and injury.
- Instructions for developing meditation as an ongoing practice with the intention of improving mind and body well-being.
- Tools for managing fear and negative thoughts that may arise.
How Can I Try Mindfulness?
One of the great things about mindfulness is that because it needs so little, you can try it anywhere. At home, at work during a break, on the train. You don’t need any special equipment, any safety gear or special leggings or anything like that. Everything you need to practice mindfulness is already inside you, except the time to do it.
1) Make time.
2) Observe the moment you are in.
While some kinds of meditation have higher purposes, mindfulness is a very simple and humble pursuit. You’re not trying to clear your mind or achieve inner peace with mindfulness. All you’re trying to do is pay attention to the present moment, and not judge yourself.
3) Note and let go of any judgments.
While practicing mindfulness, judgments are inevitable. You are human, your mind will offer distractions to fill what it perceives as empty air time. Make a mental note of any judgments that appear, then let them pass.
4) Return to observing your present moment.
It is natural that your mind should wander, especially when you are just starting to practice.
5) Be gentle with yourself.
Thoughts will crop up, but it is not productive to criticize yourself for this. Simply recognize that your mind has wandered, and bring it back to the moment.
Different people use different methods of getting into the right headspace for mindfulness. Some use deep breathing. Some use meditation programs. Some close their eyes and do ‘body scans’: exercises where they observe different physical sensations in varying parts of their body. You should experiment and choose the method that gives you the best results.