Mindfulness Group & Meditations
What is mindfulness?
Take a break and stop what you are doing for 10 seconds.
How was that? If you took a deep breath and relaxed, that was good. However, if your mind pushed you to complete your list of things to do, or you felt a sense of urgency (even though nothing important was happening) or if it seemed uncomfortable to stop “doing” for 10 seconds, then you will want to read on. Today, many of us are becoming more and more stressed, anxious and exhausted. We lose ourselves in the busy-ness of our lives, and forget to practice our natural ability to slow down and savor the life that is right in front of us.
How does slowing down and paying attention to the moment help? Because of the very nature of how our mind works and the frantic pace of living in general, we end up spending a great deal of time in our minds thinking, rehashing the past, planning, and rehearsing for the future. ‘Thought’ is particular to higher-order mammals, and allows us to produce a kind of virtual reality which can be used great advantage. If left on autopilot and directionless, however, our thinking can take our attention away from the experience of an event that is right in front of us.
Have you ever taken a shower while thinking about what you will do with your day, and gotten so lost in planning that, at the end of the shower, you can’t remember whether you washed your hair or not? That is one small example of how we miss out on being present in our own lives. However, imagine this small moment occurring constantly throughout your everyday life. In our frantic lives, we can become stuck in ‘doing’ mode, our mind constantly moving from one event to another to the next without taking the time to savor or enjoy any one moment. Mindfulness gives us the means to regain our moments of joy and pleasure.
Benefits of mindfulness
• Studies indicate that regular meditators are happier and more contented than the average person.
• Anxiety, depression and irritability all decrease with regular meditation sessions.
• Memory improves.
• Reaction times become faster and mental and physical stamina increase.
• Regular meditators have more fulfilling relationships.
• Studies found that meditation reduces key indicators for chronic stress and hypertension.
• Meditation has also been found to be effective in reducing the impact of serious conditions, such as chronic pain and can even help relieve drug and alcohol dependence.
• Studies have also shown that meditation bolsters the immune system.