If you’re looking to calm the inner chaos of your thoughts and gain some internal peace, a daily mindfulness and meditation practice may be just what the doctor ordered.
Meditation has been around for ages but is gaining popularity with a different crowd than before. Modern research shows some pretty promising results which have hooked an array of people from healthcare practitioners to professional athletes.
Attendees of the Holistic Health Fair have the option of speaking with practitioners about the benefits and techniques of mindfulness and meditation. There are even vendors that offer tools to support mindfulness while cooking, bathing, and sleeping (think holistic skincare, candles and pillow sprays).
What is Mindfulness?
The Oxford Language dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations”.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the act or practice of quieting the mind and body, while focusing on deep breathing, that promotes mental clarity. Meditation can be done while sitting or laying down, and can be performed with success for as little as 5 minutes!
Health Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation
Research shows that mindfulness and meditation reduces repetitive thoughts, increases attention span, reduces depression, and improves memory.
It also can significantly improve the way your mind handles stress and anxiety and even alters the appearance of your brain on functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI's).
Your immune system function also benefits from meditation as your body’s cortisol levels triggered from stress start to decrease. You will likely feel more relaxed and get better sleep at night. Mindfulness is also an effective method to control pain and lower blood pressure.
Another study showed patients had fewer emotional reactions when they were shown sad pictures after practicing meditation whether they were newbies or had been practicing for years.
This is incredibly promising for those struggling with anger issues or those prone to emotional instability. But that’s not all. Studies have also found that increased mindfulness can help with personal relationships. This allows you to sift through the mental debris and effectively communicate your needs to your partner while also assigning less importance to negative emotional encounters.
Meditation has also shown to improve children's cognitive function, critical thinking ability and ease of handling new, challenging situations, leading to long-term positive development.
Meditation can also help make you feel like a better person by improving your empathy and compassion while simultaneously reducing your judgments.
How to practice mindful meditation
Mindful.org suggests beginners start with small meditation sessions ranging anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Sit in a comfortable chair, on the floor or lay down in a comfortable position. Focus on your breath, quietly observing every slow, deep inhalation and exhalation. Pay attention when your mind wanders and work on returning your thoughts to your breath.
Treat yourself with kindness and don’t judge yourself for not being perfect. Although immediate improvements are common, it's best to practice mindfulness daily to exercise those parts of your brain which lead to sustained mental focus.
It’s no wonder with so many benefits to mindfulness and meditation that so many people are falling in love with this self-care practice. Stop by our events to learn more and meet with experts in the field of mindfulness and meditation.