Key Observations of Mindfulness | Guest Post by David Shields

The definition of “mindfulness” is:

  1. Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique and a state of consciousness achieved by focusing only on the present moment and coming to terms with one’s own thoughts and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness has positive benefits to our mind because it teaches us to focus and improve our level of discernment – the ability to think and judge well. Meditation teacher training requires a lot of research to turn the hobby in to a profession. One thing that needs to be coached is the importance of regularity.

  • It is advised by experts that we should exercise regularly, eat regularly and sleep regularly at the same intervals during the day. Meditation is no different. To really feel the effects and to make it more beneficial we should be setting a particular time in the day where you would be certainly available to meditate. Perhaps, first thing in the morning? How about right after breakfast? Straight after work? Maybe, right before you go to sleep? Whatever fits best in your schedule, try to stick to the same time every day.
  • Although if time allows, you can meditate more than once, or as many times as you wish, it is just important that you do not skip a session often, interchange the time of day too often, or to be lenient with yourself and let yourself become used to missing 5-10 minutes.
  • A lot of people use the excuse of not having enough time on their hands to meditate, and this is often true to people who have done it a lot in the past but have appeared to let it become a stale activity or have lost interest in it all together. The key is though, whilst some people would happily undergo an hour or two at a time, which can also be encouraged, it might be best for those who have less time to go for at least 5-10 minutes at a time as this all your mind, body and spirit needs throughout the day.

There is a myriad amount of benefits when one regularly practises meditation teachings. Some of these include changes to our physical being as well as our mental wellbeing. There are a number of short term and long-term effects that happen noticeably upon meditating, some short-term effects are the reduction of cortisol levels that can change how we react to stressful situations.

One short term effect is the reduction of cortisol – which is a hormone that flows through our nervous system when we are highly stressed, but when we meditate and focus entirely on our breath and the present moment, the very core of our mind makes miniscule physical changes, and even alpha waves have been detected in the brains of people whilst meditating. These alpha waves help to increase our attention span and to stop us from being distracted easily.

Essentially, meditation is like exercising the muscles of our brain and although there are many different types of meditation – one of the most life changing would be mindful breathing. When we try to focus only on our breath, and letting ourselves to get distracted without giving up – and slowly returning all of our focus to our breath, we then exercise our capabilities to focus our mind and to release self-confident and positive feelings, just by being able to focus for long periods of time.

When we are distracted during meditation – obviously it’s not going to work as well, but the key is to notice it soon, but if it you think it takes you too long to get back in the rhythm of it that’s when you should become determined to improve. If you can start to train your mind to become more focused and aware of yourself and your own body, you’ll start to notice how different you’ll become when it comes to everyday things. Some of these things that may be of an improvement to your character could be your patience, emotional intelligence, calmness, impulsiveness, empathy towards others, your memory and capacity to learn more things without forgetting about them in a short amount of time.

Short-Term Effects                                                         Long-Term Effects

  • Less stress                             – Extends our life expectancy
  • More focus                            – Reduces blood pressure
  • Better awareness                          – Improves addictive tendencies
  • Increase in creativity    – Improves heart health
  • Improvement in quality of sleep                 – Helps guard against depression anxiety