The Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation has been increasingly adopted by the western world as evidence of its benefit has spread.
As well as hundreds of years of endorsement by the Buddhist monks who utilize mindfulness meditation on a daily basis, western medicine has conducted empirical research into mindfulness meditation that shows how it can be beneficial for us all on a practical level in our everyday lives.
If you have never meditated before then the idea of trying it might be a bit abstract or scary but some simple mindfulness meditation techniques can be used to help you get a better night sleep without too much time or effort.
So what do I actually do?
For the majority of us with busy lives, what you actually do when completing mindfulness meditation can be difficult to understand and seem counterintuitive.
Mindfulness meditation simply encourages you to exist in the moment in a non-judgemental manner, this means accepting the present moment without analyzing it or without thinking about the past or the future.
Different techniques can help you achieve this present state, for example concentrating on your breathing, the sounds your breathing makes and the movement of your chest as you breathe in and out.
Although you don’t really need to ‘practice’ mindfulness as it is a simple technique. It does, however, require a fairly significant level of concentration so when you are starting out you may wish to practice for 1 minute before taking a break and work up to 2 minutes the next time and so on.
While there is no maximum time you should spend practicing mindfulness, 10 minutes would be a good target to work towards.
It is natural that thoughts will pass through your mind while you are practicing, especially when you first begin, accept these thoughts and let them pass through your mind without judgment, these thoughts are neither positive or negative, simply allow them to pass through and aim to refocus on the present moment.
Use it at the right time
While mindfulness meditation can be used at any time of the day or for different reasons. We are interested in using it to aid a better night sleep. So while you will need to work out for yourself the best time and way to do this, remember that mindfulness meditation can be used preventively as well as actively.
If you suffer from sleeping difficulties several times a week then it may be advisable to practice mindfulness meditation every night before you try and sleep in order to help clear your mind. If you only suffer difficulties falling asleep say once a month, you may wish to use the techniques to help you fall asleep on that one particular night.
Discover and Share
Like anything new that you decide to do or try, from being a beginner it is your responsibility to learn more and share what you have learned. You will find more mindfulness meditation techniques that can be used in different situations and in different ways that may be useful to you at different stages of your life.
Always remember to share what you learn as it may be more useful to someone than you realise, it is likely that sharing your own mindfulness meditation experience will help you reflect and reframe what you have experienced and sharing of this information that you have found useful will not diminish your own knowledge or experience but will, in fact, help to cultivate it.
I still don’t understand what I actually have to do
It is normal to take a while to understand and get the most out of mindfulness meditation. We spend our days constantly on the go, we are told that procrastinating or being idle is a waste of time, but mindfulness meditation is neither of those things, it is an active and some would say necessary process.
Think of it as a rest of your mind or mind maintenance, you give your legs a rest from standing or walking but why not your mind?
By Valerie S.