Mindfulness meditation is a great way to increase your ability to concentrate, reduce your stress and stimulate your creativity. To learn to meditate in full consciousness requires time and practice.
However, you can learn to do it alone. You can also learn to incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily life, for example when you are feeding, walking, or doing one of your daily tasks.
Choose a place.
Think about a place where you will not be interrupted and where there is no source of distraction. You could choose a quiet place in your home or sit under a tree outside. Choose a place where you feel a sense of peace and where you get away from the rumors of everyday life.
If you are cultivating the practice of meditation, consider creating a space that is dedicated to this practice. You could place inspiring or soothing objects on a special table, like flowers or pictures of beautiful places. Soften the lighting by installing candles.
You will stay still for several minutes and you must be in a comfortable position. Pay attention to the ambient temperature. You could place a blanket on your shoulders or near you because your body temperature may drop.
Plan some pillows to sit more comfortably. Wear comfortable clothes that will not distract you.
Set aside some time.
You could start by simply doing 10 minutes of meditation and progressing slowly. Do not choose to meditate for an hour, as it may sound too much of a sudden. Prefer to commit to small durations and if you wish, increase them gradually.
Try setting a timer so that you are not tempted to check the time during meditation. Just make sure that the “end of meditation” time is marked by a softer alarm than an aggressive phone ring. Try to find a sound that sounds like soothing chimes or soft piano music.
Try different postures.
Many people associate meditation with sitting in the lotus posture (cross-legged), but there is no single way to meditate. You can sit on the floor, on a chair, stand, walk or lie down. Try different positions, and find what seems most natural to you. There is no “bad” way to meditate.
The reclining position is quite comfortable, but be careful not to fall asleep! It often happens that we begin meditation, then we find ourselves transported to the realm of dreams.
Put your mind in condition.
You may need some time to put your mind in shape and begin to detach yourself from the things that are going on in your life. If you have had a stressful day, you may be thinking about what happened or things that might happen in the future. You risk rehashing your emotions. Notice how your mind is dancing and let it go a little while you get in shape.
Know that it doesn’t matter to find the meditation a little strange. Just take a moment to identify these feelings and focus on your physical position. Try to put yourself in the most comfortable position possible
Take a few deep breaths.
Concentrate on your breath, notice the inhalations and exhalations of each breath. Feel the way each breath comes in and out of your body filled your lungs, then goes to your throat and mouth. Begin to lengthen the duration of each breath, to give it depth. Deep breathing helps to relax the body and mind.
Observing one’s breath is a practice of mindfulness in itself. You can observe your breathing for the duration of the meditation.
Realize that you are not your thoughts.
When you meditate, tell yourself that you have control over the thoughts and emotions you choose to feel. When you notice the appearance of thoughts or emotions in which you do not want to engage, let them go and choose not to put your attention on it.
This advice could help you realize that you have the opportunity to change negative thoughts and that you can let them go. Don’t be angry with yourself if you notice the presence of mental thoughts. Practice letting go of these mental experiences without judgment.
Come back on your breath.
Whenever you are distracted by noises, thoughts, or anything else, return to watching your inspirations and expirations. When you notice a negative thought or feeling, reorient your focus on your breath.
When you focus on your breath, focus on neutrality. If thoughts arise, continue practicing the non-judgment of your thoughts, including whether they relate to the way you practice meditation. Judgment about yourself interferes with your meditation session. Understand that people often find themselves distracted by thoughts about their day. Meditation is not a question of performance
Concentrate on the present moment.
One of the goals of mindfulness practices is to help you focus on the present moment. Your mind and your emotions are very easily immersed in the future or in the past, but your body is always in the present moment. This is why many mindfulness practices are centered on the body.
If you notice that your mind is often wandering, return to your body and especially to your breath. Try to focus only on the present moment.
Eating mindfully might even help you lose weight because you will slow the rate at which you eat and really enjoy your food. You could practice the food in full consciousness with fruit, an apple for example.
Hold the apple and look at it, observe its shape, texture or any writings that stick to it.
Feel the apple in your hands or perhaps in contact with your lips.
Bring it closer to your face and give a few breaths to feel it. Notice if your body responds, for example by salivating or increasing its desire to taste it.
Finally, munch a piece of apple, notice its taste, its texture, and ask yourself if it’s nice to chew.
Practice mindful walking.
You could also meditate while walking. Try to go for a walk, and while walking, focus on what it’s like to walk, feel your muscles move, bend and stretch. Slow down in order to focus on your movements and feel of your feet touching and leave the ground.
Walking barefoot meditation can enhance the experience and allow you to feel a lot more sensation, such as texture and soil temperature.
Focus on sensations.
You can practice mindfulness meditation if you feel pain and want to tune your body. This skill can help reduce pain and tension. Choose a place on your body to focus on, either internally or externally. Are the sensations pleasant, unpleasant or neutral? You may notice that here or there, there is now a “pleasant feeling” or “pain”. Observe how your mind and body interact with these feelings.
A similar method based on the fundamentals of meditation concerns a form of body analysis: focus on each part of the body from the bottom up to examine the sensations, before moving on to another part or observing the energy flow of the body.
Instead of losing interest in what’s around you, try to activate each of your senses. Open your eyes and observe what’s around you, notice every movement, every color or every object that appears in front of you. Note the smells that pass through the air. Notice the sounds, perhaps the buzzing of electricity, the passing cars, or the singing birds
Make daily tasks a meditation.
Any action can be a meditation if you do it in full consciousness. You could brush your teeth in full awareness by noticing the taste of the toothpaste, feel the bristles of the brush and the movement of your hand. Take a shower in full consciousness and notice all your ways to take care of your body during this period.
Even driving to work can be an opportunity for meditation: notice how you feel in the car, how your body adapts to the seat, and observe the thoughts and emotions that come to mind when you are confronted with the traffic and the desired or undesirable consequences.
Whenever you practice mindfulness, you say that the most important thing is to be present. Return to your breath and observe your thoughts and feelings without pursuing or judging them.