I’m sure by now, you’ve heard that mindfulness meditation is all the rage. And for good reason, too! Various studies present evidence that this practice can rest and settle our minds in a world where we’re constantly thinking about the past or the future. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, chronic pain, anxiety, and it can even improve attention, focus, memory, self-regulation, and empathy. How amazing is that?!
So, what does it mean to be mindful? Being mindful means that you are doing your best to be fully present and aware. When we are mindful, we are more intentional with our thoughts, actions, emotions, and so on. We’re not clouded by hurry, fear, and doubt, as my good friend and yoga teacher, Prem, would say.
When I first learned about meditation as a young neuroscience student, I thought I was way too busy to sit down and meditate for hours a day. But it turns out that I don’t need to meditate for an hour to get the benefits of mindfulness meditation! Meditation has both immediate and long-term benefits on the mind and body. I started by slowly implementing a short mindfulness meditation practice—1 minute in the morning and 1 minute at night. I started here and slowly added minutes until I was able to comfortably extend my mindfulness meditation sessions.
You can practice mindfulness by sitting down to meditate or by being more intentional and aware of your actions every day. This is important because we need to be aware of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Mindfulness meditation is super simple for me, I do 3 things:
- I find somewhere comfortable and distraction-free to sit or lay down
- I close my eyes and pay attention to my breath
- When my mind wanders, I gently remind myself to bring my attention back to my breath
I repeat this process multiple times during the mindfulness meditation process.
That’s it! Don’t over-complicate it and don’t be hard on yourself. Keep it simple.
Sometimes, I can only meditate for 1 minute. Other times, I can meditate for 30 minutes or more. Both are okay! When I have more time, I try to meditate for longer. When I’m short on time, I meditate for a shorter amount of time. Quality over quantity is what we’re going for when it comes to mindfulness meditation.