Have you ever checked how your thoughts emerge and dissolve somewhere in mind? This guide will teach you how to practice mindfulness allowing you to have a better understanding of your thoughts.
Later, in this guide, I will recommend my favorite book that teaches the traditional and scientific approach to mindfulness.
Before you dive into knowing how to practice mindfulness meditation, it is better to know a bit about mindfulness.
Once you have known it, you will better understand how to practice mindfulness effectively.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental practice of experiencing being in the present without getting judgmental about your thoughts.
Let me, explain to you in a better way.
It may sound a little strange particularly to beginners. They may think, “we are already in the present. So, why think about being in the present?”.
Of course, we are in the present, but, not always mentally. Physically we are in the present and no one denying from the fact. But, most do not always exist mentally in the present.
Many have the habit of overthinking, thinking about the past or future. And sometimes, this bad habit leads to anxiety and depression in life. And, this is where the need for mindfulness comes into play.
Mindfulness lets you keep in the present moment without being influenced by your thoughts.
A lot of the thoughts in our mind appears and disappears, and with thought comes different sensations. Most of the thoughts have nothing to do with reality, most exist because of our fear, worry, and greed.
When you practice mindfulness, it helps in a better understanding of your different thoughts and their influence on you.
Through mindfulness, you see your thoughts coming and going as it is, without resisting and judging any of them.
So, now when you get an overview of mindfulness, it’s better to know how to practice it effectively.
Things you need to know before exercising mindfulness meditation
- Keep in mind, you do not have to resist any thought from coming nor try to hold it.
- Just let them come in as it is and don’t spend much time holding a thought.
- Try to see how it is trying to influence your mind.
- The moment you find yourself getting carried away with the thought. Just bring your focus back on your breathing (present moment).
How to practice Mindfulness?
Here is how you can begin with mindfulness. It does not require anything special but just you and a little friendly environment.
1. Find a suitable place.
You can get a suitable place easily at home. The place where you love spending most of the time with yourself. The place could be your bedroom or a study room. For best practice, try to find a calm and pleasant place in order to practice mindfulness effectively.
2. Relax your body.
Once you have found a suitable place, next is to relax your body, sitting in a relaxed posture. Fold your legs, sit straight, relax your shoulder, and slowly close your eyes. You can sit on a chair, table, bed, mat or anywhere that makes you feel happy sitting.
Though it is not always required to be in always sitting position to practice it. But, sitting relaxed will help you practice it effectively.
At least, at the beginner level, you need to understand clearly what is the ultimate goal of mindfulness. So, more friendly you make yourself with surroundings, easier it will be for you to practice it.
Note: The goal of Mindfullness is to let your mind train for being in the present and not being judgemental about your thoughts. So, you have to keep practicing it even when you are walking, eating, talking, sitting, meditating etc.
3. Feel the surrounding.
Once you have closed your eyes, just feel the different sounds around you, if you feel any light stress on your body part, just feel it. If you feel any smell, experience it. The main purpose is to let you aware of your present surroundings.
4. Focus on your breath.
Next, focus on your breathing. The sensation of air while you are inhaling and exhaling. Breathing is the point of focus to let you aware of your present moment in case any thought tries to carry you away with it.
5. Welcome your first thought.
The moment you close your eyes, try to look at the thought that just comes in. Your thought may come to you from different sources. May be itching of your nose can get you the first thought. Maybe, a fragrance around reminds you of your childhood memory, this memory may take you to another memory and so on.
6. Do not get judgemental.
Just try to look around every thought the moment they come in. See how they are trying to influence your mind. Every thought comes with a sensation in the body. Try to see how the sensation is and let them go without further influencing your mind.
Do not try to judge any thoughts coming in, neither try to hold them long. You do not have to resist any thought from appearing either. Let them come naturally and go as it is. Make sure you are not spending much time thinking on a particular thought.
7. Return your focus on your breathing.
Your thoughts will try their best to take you away with them. Stand strong for yourself by not allowing any thought to taking you away.
You don’t have to be their friend nor enemy, just be there to see them coming and going.
The moment you see any thought taking you away, bring back your focus on your breathing. This is a very important thing to exercise while practicing mindfulness. So, make sure you are doing it perfectly.
A must-read guide: How to let your thoughts follow you?
Want to know about positive thinking? Read – How to think positive and what is positive thinking?
Benefits of practicing mindfulness
1. Mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety:
Stress and anxiety have their root in overthinking. People who have the habit of thinking over often suffer from mental issues like anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness helps in a better understanding of how different thoughts in your mind influences you. It helps you understand how most of your thoughts exist because of your unnecessary fear, worry, anger, etc.
Once you know working effectively with your thoughts by not letting yourself get influenced by them, you feel relaxed and calm.
2. Practicing Mindfulness improves sleep:
Insomnia is the biggest issue of most of the people in this world. And, this is getting more serious with time. It has really a dangerous effect on our mind and body. Sleep is the way our body relaxes and goes into repairing mode.
Once you relieve yourself from unnecessary worrying and overthinking, you can slowly improve your sleep. Mindfulness helps in cutting off all unnecessary thoughts, and thereby, relaxing the mind and body.
3. Practicing Mindfulness eliminates the feeling of loneliness:
When your practice mindfulness, you do not feel lonely. Loneliness is caused by overthinking about people and your bitter experiences with them.
Mindfulness once exercised well, it certainly helps in understanding people around you in a better way.
When you know how to work on your thought, you feel comfortable understanding others thought. Once you establish a good connection with the people around you, you do not feel lonely anymore.
4. Practicing Mindfulness improves relationship:
Life without having good relationships hold no meaning. Relationship at work, in family, in love life, between teacher and student, etc must be strong.
Mindfulness helps connect with people strongly. When you practice mindfulness, you don’t get judgemental on different thoughts about others, thereby helping you improve your relationship with people,
5. Mindfulness improves concentration:
If you are not focused, it is very difficult to keep working towards reaching your desired goal. Focus improves to take the right decision and lead you to path to success.
Mindfulness helps in improving your concentration by letting you practicing being in present, eliminating most of the unnecessary thoughts hindering your way.
6. Mindfulness teaches us to make the right decision:
We take the wrong decisions when we do not have clarity of what we are trying to do. If our thoughts are disorganized in the absence of the right practice, we often fail taking the right decision.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts are well organized and with this organization, we then become capable of making the right decisions.
7. Mindfulness improves creativity:
“How creative you are” depends upon how creative your thoughts are. When you do not have control over your thoughts, then how can you make enough room for your creative thinking?
We often spend most of the time thinking about the future or past, neglecting present. This habit ruins our creativity and left us hopeless. With mindfulness practice, we focus being in present, thus making enough room for our creative work.
8. Mindfulness helps you experience peace in life:
With mindfulness practice comes the ultimate peace in life. We start feeling the importance of being in present and avoid getting flown away in the storm of our thoughts.
Above are some of the benefits you can see immediately practicing mindfulness. There are a lot of benefits that are not possible to be written in words and can be felt only with the right practice.
Best book on how to practice mindfulness
As promised, I will recommend a book on practicing mindfulness which I found really helpful. The reason I liked this book is that it teaches you mindfulness scientific and traditional ways.
I learned the meaning of mindfulness first from this book. Just reading different articles on the internet was not enough for me to understand it. Therefore, I went on looking from some practical guide to mindfulness.
I was fortunate enough to explore this book while I was reading some articles online. The author of the book “Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche” himself is a great practitioner of mindfulness and shared his teaching in his book.
Mindfulness has its root in Buddhism, and are heavily practiced in countries like India, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, etc. The author is from Tibet and practicing mindfulness since his childhood.
Now he has great experience in this field and helped some western scientists conduct some studies on the effect of mindfulness on the human body. This book is a summary of these studies and the author’s experience of mindfulness.
A must-read book if you want to practice and understand mindfulness in depth. This book will change the way you think about yourself and this world. Thank me later.
A Self-help book by Jay Shetty: Think Like A Monk Book By Jay Shetty
Takeaway: How to practice Mindfulness
Before I finish writing, I would like to give you a key point as a take away from this article- “How to practice mindfulness“.
The things which can be felt by doing can not be expressed in words. Therefore, I would like to say, start practicing it the right way and experience it yourself. No author is good until you exercise their lessons.
I hope you gained some valuable insights from this article. Please leave your thoughts below and share this wisdom with people to spread awareness.