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Every single day we are bombarded via Facebook with Buzzfeed articles about how to use Acro-Yoga to strengthen relationships, find inner peace from a sound bath, 16 ways to keep anxiety from ruining your life or 7 ways to make your life better this week. If we spent as much time breathing as we did reading these articles, we'd not only be more relaxed but also more focused, creative and stimulating actual brain growth.
Definition of mindfulness:
(1) “Self regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, therby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment.”
(2) “A particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness and acceptance.”
Meditation is not religious and no matter what your beliefs, every person can participate because we are all human. There is no dogma. There is no requirement. Detaching your thoughts from your idea of self is something that benefits every type of person whether you are young, old, poor, rich, Buddhist or Catholic.
Not only does meditation directly affect the parasympathetic nervous system, it turns our focus internally towards all of our senses. You'll often hear me ask you to focus on certain parts of your body, feel the weight of your eyelids or the chair holding your body comfortably because it allows you to be mindful of how you hold yourself and the slight movements we make even when sitting "still". This kind of mindfulness can also stimulate emotional intelligence and encourage consciousness of the energy for action that you have within your self.
We spend so much time going and doing, yet so little time being. Paraphrasing from Bodhin Kjolhede, like a snow globe that's been shaken, our lives are constantly noisy, chaotic and full of distractions-- when we take time to set the globe down and let things settle, we have the attention span to fully enjoy the experience of being.
Meditation, scientifically, allows the brain to grow by thickening the pre-frontal cortex meaning that it increases focus and expands creativity. Physically, it also decreases stress which naturally strengthens the immune system. The easiest way to start meditating is by beginning with sleep meditations like Deep Relaxation because it's natural for you to drift off when you aren't constantly doing things.
You don't have to be a zen master to start the practice of meditating. That's why it's called a practice.
The mind determines our experience and we don't spend enough time taking care of it. We spend all day overstimulated and in a perpetual state of reaction to the world around us. Our quality of living is determined by the state of the mind and not the circumstantial elements of our lives. When we stop living each day reacting to everything that goes on externally and realizing what we, deep under the surface, wish to act on-- that's when we've learned to stabilize our emotions and can start to take control of our lives.
Start taking care of your mind tonight by trying a sleep meditation.
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Nikki and I are so glad you found our Tracks To Relax Sleep Blog! We're working hard to bring you new guided sleep meditations each and every month on our Patreon page at www.BedtimeMeditations.com