Meditating Is Mindfulness
Regular meditation is an act of mindfulness that everyone can benefit from. Yep. I don’t care who you are, you need to be meditating. I mean, you don’t really HAVE to (as in the realm of psychotherapy “should” is a dirty word), but here is the thing; you are probably already doing it. It’s not as complicated, nor formal, as you might think.
(photo credit: Olivia Bauso, Unsplash)
Meditation is simply the practice of ‘mindfulness.’ Mindfulness is a state of mind you achieve by focusing only on the present moment. You focus on acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. I consider it a necessary break from functioning in the subconscious. We do SO MUCH throughout our day that we don’t even think about, because of routine. Mindfulness is a break from the routine, a moment of being ‘aware.’
Mindfulness is the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment. -Headspace
When you’re meditating, you are aware. The more you meditate, you learn to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations — and how they affect you. Being able to pay attention, gives you self-awareness so that you can do something different when you are negatively affected, and do more of a thing when you are positively affected.
Meditation Doesn’t Have To Be Formal or Complex
For example, when you learn to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, you learn that the sound of too many televisions on in your house increases your anxiety, or when you haven’t exercised in four days, you feel more tired. When you get a long tight hug from your husband in the morning before you both head to work, you feel more relaxed throughout the day, or drinking more water usually leads to you feeling less hungry throughout the day. Mediating helps you develop emotional, mental, and physical awareness.
It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.
Meditating doesn’t require that you sit on the floor with your legs crossed, ringing finger bells, and chanting. It doesn’t require that you attend a weekly Yoga class (although this is a fabulous form of guided meditation!). There are different types of meditation. Think, right now, of activities in which you are being mindful (see definition above).
How Do You Meditate? Yes, You Meditate.
For me, my favorite form of meditation is dancing. I mean, I will dance like nobody’s watching! The entire time at the party, it’s like I’m the only person on the dancefloor; just me and my body becoming one with the music, the beat, the flow. Like moving to the lyrical melody of J. Cole telling me to “…if you down to try it I know of a better way. Meditate.—Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate.“ I innately use all parts of my body while dancing, from head to toe (that means I dance HARD). The movement makes me feel free, fluid, peaceful, hopeful, joyful, and strong. I never get enough of ‘just dancing.’ I have other ways of meditating: the cleansing of my body during a warm bath, conversations with God in the car, driving (I love to drive), walking my dogs, and working on my tiny house.
As you read through my forms of meditation, I hope it helps you to think of the ways you are probably already meditating. Once you say “ah-ha —— THIS is how I meditate!” then decide how you will be even more mindful during those moments, and also do more of it.
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