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I’ve Tried Mindfulness Meditation, Here’s Why You Should Try it Too

I’ve Tried Mindfulness Meditation, Here’s Why You Should Try it Too

In our fast-paced society today, we seem to be in a constant struggle to keep up. While the advancement of technology has its benefits, we are now being constantly bombarded with information and feel pressured to connect and respond all the time. As a result, we often feel stressed, overwhelmed, and in a constant state of anxiety.

Maintaining such a frenetic lifestyle is clearly unsustainable for our physical and emotional health. Yet, despite this, we continue to pound at a furious pace to get ahead.

If this describes you and what you are going through, it is time to take a pause and give some attention to the present moment. When we do that we focus at where we are,we tend to gain a better perspective of what we are doing, and enjoy doing it more.

Practicing mindfulness in our daily lives has a lot of benefits. Studies have shown that it improves many facets of our physical and emotional well-being, such as reducing stress, improving learning, memory, emotional regulation, and empathy.

What is Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness is the psychological process of being fully present in the moment.

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When we are being mindful, we are not caught up in our thoughts about the past, the future, or reacting to the things that are happening around us. We become fully aware of what we are directly experiencing in the moment through our senses, and our state of mind through our thoughts and feelings.

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    In order to be mindful, we need to first acknowledge our thoughts without judging them

    Practicing mindfulness does not mean that we are actively trying to stop thinking. It involves noting and accepting our thoughts and feelings as it is – without judging them or trying to change them. For example, if we are feeling irritated with our friend that he or she is late, we note these feelings of irritation and then let it be. We do not ‘judge’ these feelings as right or wrong, or react based on these feelings by behaving angrily.

    Believe it or not, being mindful is a basic human ability

    This ability to be fully present is something that we all naturally possess. It is easier to be fully in the moment when we are doing something that we enjoy, such as when we are listening to music or watching a movie. However, we tend to get caught up in the default mode of worrying, reacting, and feeling overwhelmed when we are in the day to day.

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    Mindfulness meditation is the perfect way to cultivate mindfulness

    In order to get away from all the distractions and regain mindfulness,we need to intentionally set aside time to practice being fully present in the moment. Mindfulness meditation is the formal practice of mindfulness. The intention of practice is to help us regain stillness and mindfulness in places where there is no distraction. The more we practice, we will become better at intentionally being mindful when we are going through our day to day life.

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      My Story on Mindfulness Meditation and How it has Changed My Life

      After hearing so much about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, I decided to give it a try. After all, a number of very remarkable individuals (i.e. Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Ariana Huffington and Lebron James) have all incorporated meditation as an essential part of their daily routine. I was intrigued, and very curious about what mindfulness meditation can do for me.

      My first few attempts at meditation were frustrating. Given that I had read so much about its wonderful benefits, I initially expected to feel different immediately. I had concerns that I was not doing it correctly, and did not know what exactly to expect. It took a lot of perseverance and willpower to continue making it a daily practice, since I could not see any positive benefits right away.

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      The first time I noticed that my meditation practice had any impact on my life was when I was stuck in traffic and running late for a work meeting. Normally, I would have gotten quite frustrated and irritable, even though it was technically my fault for leaving house late.

      To my surprise, I kept my calm throughout the ride. I was aware that being irritated and frustrated would not help the situation. Hence, I consciously made the decision to focus on being in the present moment, and had a enjoyable conversation with the Uber driver. I gradually started noticing the same pattern when I was faced with other unpleasant experiences. I had become better at managing my negative emotions, and it has also helped me greatly in managing my anxiety in my day to day life.

      Mindfulness meditation is something that gets easier with practice. Every time we meditate, we build new neural pathways in our brain that helps us process our thoughts and emotions better.

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        If you are new to mindfulness meditation, here are some of the tips that helped me through my practice

        Technology can help you become more mindful too

        If you are new to mindfulness meditation, using a guided meditation app such as Headspace, Breathe, or Calm, is a good way to start. Headspace offers a free 10-day guided meditation program for beginners, which gives you a really good introduction to what mindfulness and mindfulness meditation is.

        Don’t obsess over doing it ‘correctly’

        As a beginner, you may have some concerns about what the right way to meditate is. Meditation is a highly personal practice, and there is no ‘correct’ way of doing it. Take your time to find out what seating or lying postures work best for you, and your ideal environment and time of the day for meditating.

        Feel it until you make it

        It is okay if you do not know what to expect, or if your experience of meditation is different from mine. You may also experience a different impact of meditation on your life. What is most important is that you return to the practice day after day, whether you had a positive session or not.

        Have you ever tried mindfulness meditation? If you have, share with us how has it impacted your life?

        More by this author

        Sophia Goh

        Professional Counsellor and Psychotherapist, M.A. Counselling

        I’ve Tried Mindfulness Meditation, Here’s Why You Should Try it Too

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2020

        The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

        The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

        You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

        Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

        Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

        An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

        Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

        1. The Paleo Diet

        The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

        The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

        In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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        How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

        The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

        With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

        It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

        Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

        2. Whole30

        The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

        With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

        During the month you are eliminating:

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        • sugar
        • alcohol
        • legumes
        • grains
        • dairy
        • soy

        Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

        At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

        Finding Out How Food Impacts You

        Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

        With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

        This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

        3. The Mediterranean Diet

        The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

        For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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        With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

        • Fruits & vegetables
        • Whole grains
        • Legumes & nuts
        • Replacing butter with olive oil
        • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
        • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
        • Moderate amounts of red wine

        Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

        Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

        With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

        4. The Alkaline Diet

        The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

        The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

        Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

        The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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        People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

        One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

        Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

        There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

        The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

        What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

        The Big Takeaway:

        Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

        Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

        Reference

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