• Life is filled with changes. Children go to college, parents age, illness strikes family and friends. The practice of Mindfulness Meditation can help you handle these curveballs. While very simple to learn, it has huge results, from improving daily coping skills to providing the peace of mind and inner grace to handle even the toughest situations.

    Originally taught by the Buddha 2,500 years ago, this ancient practice has helped people tackle life’s changes for a long time. It promotes a deeper awareness that soothes the mind and calms the nerves. It centers you in the present moment, reducing the hurt of past experiences and memories so you can move forward. It deepens an understanding of painful situations, enabling us to achieve perspective, let go of the hurt, and transform our relationships.

    Practicing mindfulness meditation can transform your life. But learning how it is a lot easier than you might think. Here are 6 tips for getting started.

    1. State your goals.

    Write a simple goal statement for yourself. It should include what period of time you’re going to commit to learning mindfulness meditation, such as 60 or 90 days. Then write down how often you are going to meditate — it might be every day, or every other day.

    Write how long each session will be. Even 15 minutes is enough. Post your goal statement some place you’ll see it every day. This will reinforce your commitment, and increase the likelihood of following through.

    2. Concentrate.

    The first phase of mindful meditation involves concentrating.

    Concentration helps you steady and focus your mind. Close your eyes. Silently, begin counting your breaths. Count 1 through 5, then start over again. Keep your attention on the sensation of air passing through the tip of your nose.If your mind wanders, just quickly bring your attention back to your breath, and continue counting.

    3. Shift into mindfulness.

    About two thirds of the way through your session, stop counting, but continue observing your breath. This is the mindfulness phase of the session. Now, observe your breath from a broader perspective. Notice how the air enters your nose, and then your lungs. Notice how your chest rises and falls with each breath. When your mind wanders off, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

    4. Let go of perfection.

    Especially when you’re just getting started, your mind will wander.

    It’s absolutely natural. So it’s important to remember that your meditation sessions will not be perfect. The idea is to bring your attention back to your breath and to keep making progress. The more you practice, the calmer your mind becomes, and the easier it is to stay focused.

    5. Practice writing meditation.

    Writing meditation helps you reprogram your subconscious for more wholesome attitudes and behavior. Every day, set aside 5-10 minutes to simply copy a set of positive affirmations by hand over and over. For example, a writing meditation for yourself might include, “May I be courageous when dealing with difficulties, and always meet with success.” It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had unwanted habits. After just a few days of writing meditation, you’ll see a change in your behavior.

    6. Join a meditation group.

    Meditating with others is just as important as meditating alone.  A mindful meditation group will help you stay committed to your meditation practice, and help you make faster progress. If you can’t find a mindfulness meditationgroup in your area, start your own. All it takes are a couple of friends. You’ll get satisfaction from helping others find their inner peace, and you’ll have fun doing it.

    With mindfulness meditation, you’ll develop the awareness and clarity to clear through stresses and hurt and cope with the unexpected. You’ll learn how to cultivate more peace and harmony in all your relationships, and achieve a true sense of happiness and well-being. All it takes is a little time and practice.

    by: Charles A. Francis

    More information: 6 Best Aids for Mindful Meditation

     photo © Mikosch | Dreamstime.com 

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    Article by: Charles A. Francis

    Charles A. Francis is the cofounder and director of the Mindfulness Meditation Institute, and author of the new book, Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner Peace. He is also the creator of the 12 Steps of the Mindfulness Meditation Practice. He is a speaker and consultant, and has a passion for helping people and organizations realize their full potential through the practice of mindfulness. He leads workshops and retreats in Raleigh, NC where he resides. To learn more about him and the Mindfulness Meditation Institute, visit: www.MindfulnessMeditationInstitute.org

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    1. juliaofthebees@gmail.com' Julia says:

      Writing as meditation is a great way to stay focused. Thank you for recommending it! And “loving kindness” is a wonderful way to start the day or recommit to it. The bonus is: like attracts like!

    2. karen@wellgal.com' Karen Peltier says:

      Thanks for sharing these great tips on mindfulness meditation! I’ve never written down a meditation goal or done meditation writing, but it sounds like a great idea. Also, I love the idea of starting a meditation group!

      1. Charles@MindfulnessMeditationInstitute.org' Charles Francis says:

        Karen,

        I’m glad you find the tips helpful. With regard to the writing meditation, you can download the exercise at http://wp.me/P22v0Y-26. I highly recommend it. You’ll see significant positive changes in yourself in just a matter of days.

        In the Resources section of our site you can also find the goal statement exercise and a group starter kit. All are free of charge.

        Best wishes,
        Charles