How do we practice mindfulness effectively? Is there a step-by-step proven process for success?
Mindfulness is translated to mean awareness, discernment, and retention. This is considered by scholars to suggest that mindfulness means to remember to pay attention to what is occurring in one’s immediate experience with care and discernment.
Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s attention or awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness is a self-regulatory practice that appears to improve focus and attention over time.
Start off by making a commitment to yourself to sit for 15 minutes per day. Pick a quiet atmosphere where you won't be disturbed. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and just notice what happens. Typically our thoughts will start racing - "why am I doing this?" - "this is stupid" - "what should I make for dinner" - just notice without judgement. There is no good or bad outcome.
If you commit to doing this for at least a month, you will see a huge difference. At first, it's the longest 15 minutes ever! Then it becomes the shortest!
There are so many research articles out there that show the effectiveness of this practice. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation actually increases the gray matter in the brain. Check some of the research out!
Mrazek, M., Franklin, M., Phillips, D., Baird, B., & Schooler, J. (2013). Mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering. Psychological Science, 10, 1-6.
Davis, D., & Hayes, J. (2001). What are the benefits of mindfulness? A practice review of psychotherapy-related research. Psychotherapy, 48(2), 198-208.
Here is a 10 min guided meditation to get you started:
I write about human behavior, meditation, body awareness, and a variety of other things that pique my interest.