We always hear about the benefits of meditation, but did you know that mindfulness meditation not only can help to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and depression, it can actually increase grey matter density in the brain. What does that mean? It means that meditation can physically change your brain with positive results.
So what is mindfulness meditation? It's a practice used to focus your attention on the present moment, learning to accept your current situation with curiosity, but without judgment. It sounds a lot more difficult than it really is. It's actually fairly simple and once you get the hang of it, it becomes a little more automatic along with the peace that comes with it.
Of course there are lots of different ways in which you can meditate and it's best to experiment with different practices until you find what suits you. The following is a mediation practice that the whole family can be involved with. It is pretty straight forward and can be added to any part of your day.
Step 1: Choose your space
Find a quiet and comfortable place in your home that you will use for meditation sessions. Make sure the area is free of clutter.
Step 2: Set the mood
Decide whether you want to sit or lie down. Although sitting is ideal, this may not be possible for some people to do comfortably. If you're sitting, you can sit on a mat on the floor or use a chair. If you're lying down, try to keep your spine straight by laying on your back, if possible.
This part is optional, but we enjoy practicing a little ritual that cues the brain to get into the meditative mode. We light incense and turn on some calming flute music. If you have music streaming services like Itunes, Spotify or Amazon, with a quick search, you can find lots of meditation music.
Step 3. Start Meditating
Start by closing your eyes and begin diaphragmatic breathing, also called belly breathing. We recommend doing about 10 breaths to start. Breathe in through your nose for a slow 4 count and then out for a slow 4 count. This will induce full body relaxation. If you're having a little trouble getting starting, Deepak Chopra has some helpful guided mediation audio to help you on your way. He's on Itunes and Spotify.
Don't try to clear your mind because that's impossible. Simply focus on your breathing. If you get distracted by thoughts, gently guide your focus back to your breath. That's pretty much it!
If you're new to meditation, start out with 5 minutes at a time until you can build up to the desired amount of time. Remember to be patient with yourself and just enjoy the process and benefit of the practice.