How mindfulness and meditation can help you find balance

March 01, 2023
How mindfulness and meditation can help you find balance
News Created with Fabric.js 3.6.6 3 minute read

When we think about improving our health, we often seek out exercises that benefit our cardiovascular strength, build our muscles, or increase our flexibility to help avoid aches and pains. While these are all important, there are other wellness practices that we should consider for our mental health, and they include mindfulness and meditation.

What is mindfulness?

As defined by Psychology Today, mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present.

With roots in Buddhist and Hindu teachings, mindfulness was largely introduced to Western wellness culture by Jon Kabat-Zinn. In the 1970s, Kabat-Zinn developed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program to treat chronic pain and studied the impact of mindfulness as a professor at the University of Massachusetts medical school.

Mindfulness focuses on two core tenets: awareness and acceptance. By being seated, taking deep breaths, and focusing on each sensation you notice, you’re practicing awareness. By shifting attention to the thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing in the moment — and allowing them to exist without judgement — you’re practicing acceptance.

Mindfulness has become entrenched in many aspects of wellness, with benefits including lowered stress levels and a reduction in anxiety, depression, and pain. Some research also suggests that mindfulness has a positive impact for people dealing with rejection and social isolation.

How does meditation work?

Meditation goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness and can assist with the focus on awareness and acceptance.

While there are different kinds of meditation (guided, mantra, transcendental, for example), there are some key elements that allow you to practice meditation almost anywhere at any time.

  • A comfortable position: being seated, lying down, walking, or while in other gentle movement like yoga or tai chi
  • A quiet space: especially as a beginner, meditation is much easier in a quiet setting with few distractions like phones or televisions
  • Relaxed breathing: meditation requires deep and paced breathing, with a focus on slowing your inhale to take in more oxygen
  • Focused attention: finding one thing to focus on, like an image, object, mantra, or the act of breathing

A new challenge with great benefits

While it can often be difficult to slow down, sit quietly, and stay in the moment. Mindfulness and meditation require us to stretch ourselves in new ways, but both give us an opportunity to improve cardiovascular health, lower stress levels and increase mental wellness, and find peace in the present. If mindfulness and meditation are new practices for you, are you up for the challenge? The benefits might just be worth it.

Featured in