A Daily Dose of Meditation

MeditationI was extremely intrigued by the last blog post on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). I wanted to take on the challenge that I presented to the readers and give mindfulness a try myself. The problem was I had no idea where to begin or even how to meditate.

After talking to Dr. Forster about my predicament, he suggested I look up Jon Kabat, the master of mindfulness meditation. I took his advice and began investigating Kabat’s ideas and methods. If you are having any trouble getting started with your meditation like I was, here are some fun facts and tips I learned from Kabat!

Research Findings:

Disciplined practice of MBSR actually changes regions of the brain, resulting in improved learning, memory, decision making, and perspective taking. Particularly, there has been evidence of more left-sided PFC activation than right side activation after MBSR treatment.  I bet you’re thinking, “Why does it matter what side of the PFC is activated?” Well, the right side of the PFC is linked with feelings of anxiety while the left side is connected to wellbeing and calmness.

Now that we have seen that mindfulness meditation has some great positive effects, it is time to figure out where to start.

How to Begin:

First, mindfulness is about paying attention and taking care of oneself. It is a time of the day that can be all about you.  The best part is that there is no one particular way to engage in MBSR. You can take whatever approach feels best and comfortable.

The main thing is it is all about being aware. There is no destination that you are working towards; there is just the now and what is happening in the exact moment. Do not think about your likes, dislikes, personal opinions, or judgments. The only thing that matters is where you are in the moment.

How long?

It can seem a bit daunting to sit still for a significant period of time thinking about nothing but the moment.  15 minutes is a great start for beginners because it will give you just enough time to go through different states of mind and body.

What do I do or even think about?

As you are meditating, sit there and be aware of all the thoughts and feelings you are having. Take notice of everything in the moment that goes on within your mind, and work on separating yourself from those thoughts.  Don’t take things you think about personally. Instead, observe the moment and everything in it as an outside spectator.

Kabat’s Main Ideas:

Jon Kabat stresses that mindfulness meditation is all about self-love. Taking time out of your day to become aware of your mind and body can help you realize your significance in the world. Finding spiritual peace will translate to a healthier wellbeing inside and out.

Final thoughts:

After learning more about Kabat, I am excited to give meditation a try and am curious to see the long-term results of this new exercise.