What is mindfulness meditation anyway? If you haven’t been exposed to the concept or the buzz surrounding it, you might be a little confused as to how this relates to wellness.
“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention, in a particular way on-purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” said Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of the mindfulness movement in the United States.
It sounds simple, but the effects of doing just that are plentiful. By re-training your mind to stay present and calm in the moment, mindfulness meditation changes the physical structure of your brain, creating long-lasting changes and positive, healthy habits. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction has been scientifically shown to help with depression, anxiety, addiction, and even slow the aging of the brain.
Holistic Wellness speaker Debra Lafler distinguished between “mindfulness” and “meditation,” pointing out that mindfulness is merely paying attention, being aware, and observing the present moment in a non-judgmental way—meditation is simply a tool to increase mindfulness. When you practice meditation you should be aware of your breathing, the positioning of your body, and allowing thoughts to pass through the brain while greeting them positively.
Lafler explained that the brain is like a cage of screaming animals because our mind is constantly thinking. She encouraged the group to practice meditation as a way of observing this phenomenon, because doing so can reduce the amount of time negative feelings or emotions can dictate your mood and mental well being.
A team of researchers found that 95% of participants found relief from their stress-based symptoms after practicing mindfullness meditation.
Lafler recommends getting involved locally with a group that practices mindfulness. In Bend, check out http://www.hawthorncenter.com/morning-guided-meditation-with-kathy-nagel-ma-cht/