Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation + Beginner Practice Tips!

What does someone mean when they mention Mindfulness Meditation? According to Wikipedia "Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that originated in Eastern meditation practices" "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally" "Bringing one's complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis".

Let's break this down a bit more with the benefits and various methods...

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Decreased Stress and Anxiety

According to American Psychological Association, “MBCT is an eight-week, group-based program that incorporates mindfulness exercises including yoga, body awareness and daily homework, such as eating or doing household chores, with full attention to what one is doing, moment by moment.” Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) combines elements from mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.

 

Ability to Deal with Illness

In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as a critical element in the treatment of a number of problems, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

 

Increase Body Acceptance

Body Anxiety is a major source of suffering among women of all ages. If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. It can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

 

When you induce a state of total relaxation, which can be achieved through mindfulness meditation, yoga or other activities, you can obtain the benefits that include:

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  • Higher brain functioning
  • Increased immune function
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Increased awareness
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
  • Lowered anxiety levels
  • Experience of being calm and internally still
  • Experience of feeling connected

 

 

 

There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness practice is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.

Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly in a comfortable place and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra. Example: "I am okay" or "I am strong, stable and at peace".

Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Observe each part of your body in succession from head to toe.

Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and then gently let them go.

Urge surfing – Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Observe how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.

 

DISCLAIMER: Parts of this posts were taken from several articles found via Google. Please be aware that it is a combination of my own writing and others.

Twists and Turns l Navigating Through 2018 Part 1

I packed up my belongings to move out of a place that once felt like a home. This place didn't keep it's home like comfort-ability for very long as the person who rented it to us is deeply disturbed. Living with roaches, no heat, no fridge for 6 months, and being harassed for no reason were just a few things making our living situation uninhabitable. My anxiety spiraled once again.

How we live is what makes us real. I don't know who said this or what it was in relation to but it has resonated with me for some time now. My partner and I were living in a foggy haze of confusion, not knowing which way was up or down. And somehow after all of this, it feels like it was meant to be this way. We were meant to dig our way out of the abyss. Maybe if I explain the chain of events that led up to this point...

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It really all started with me quitting a full time job. I know what you are more than likely thinking here, doesn't it always start with quitting a job? Major life changes happen when you least expect it that's for sure but if you look closer you will see that big changes cannot happen without a person making one giant step forward. One that is particularly scary. Mine just so happened to have been quitting a full time gig that I hated and then signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.

I distinctly remember going into a panic attack in Half Pigeon while practicing one day. My overwhelming emotions took over me. Leaving me in tears and then quickly into a panic attack. It had only been a month since I last had one. This time though was particularly bad. My temples felt like they were going to explode at any second. Lucky for me a good friend of mine came to my rescue to which she was able to slowly get me out of my panic and back to breathing deeply. It's incredible how powerful our breath is! On this day I realized that my life was changing in really big ways. It all started with putting down the deposit for Teacher Training just two days after quitting my job.

2017 was a rough but wonderfully magical year for me and my partner! There were moments where I wanted to just give up everything and moments I truly felt alive. I also learned a great deal about myself as a beautifully complex human.

One hardship after another, my partner and I have rolled with life's punches. I'm thankful to have him by my side. With everything that has happened, my heart continues to grow bigger and bigger. Finally, I feel like I can breathe easier. Finally, I feel freer of fears that plagued my mind for too long. Finally, I can enjoy my time in the present moment. I am grateful and thankful.

Without writing my life story here I'll continue with a part two that includes more of the obstacles that we faced.

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Build + Bloom Rally LA 2018 Recap

One week ago today, I met these three wonderfully talented humans! Stewart Clementz, Jessica Whitaker, and Jenny Yarmolyuk of the Build + Bloom Facebook Group put on a rally event in Downtown Los Angeles. This group is for all kinds of creatives who want support from other creatives in hopes to grow whether your a hobbyist or a professional, this group is for you. I've been a member for 3 years now and I was SUPER excited to hear about this rally! This group is incredibly inspiring with so many friendly and supportive people who genuinely want to become better at what they do. Being apart of this community I am able to freely ask for constructive criticism on my work, ask for professional advice and have access to an unlimited amount of inspiration. I couldn't be more thankful for this amazing resource!!

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The Universe blessed me big time with this opportunity! Three days before the event I spent some time on YouTube, catching up on my favorite channels. One of those many channels is Jessica Kobeissi. I watched the newest episode of 4 Photographers shoot the same model. The video was evidently recorded in Los Angeles and at a loft looking studio space called FD Photo Studio. Now I had never heard of this place before until Wednesday night when I came home from the gym to see a new post on the Build + Bloom group from Jessica Whitaker. Of course I was excited seeing this!! Immediately intrigued by the venue space I did a Google search and found out that they have four buildings with multiple levels/rooms. How awesome is that?? So I'm not personally familiar with renting studio space but this place looks very promising for local and traveling creatives. I checked out the specific room the event would be in and BAM, it was the very same room in the video.

I think it's obvious that this was a sign that I needed to go to this event and get out of my comfort zone. Sounds super easy but totally isn't for a creative who overthinks situations. Knowing that I would feel nervous and anxious, I still got dressed, put on a fresh face and went downtown. I don't regret this decision. I really REALLY don't!

Jenny talked first about how she started and some of the struggles she experienced on her journey. She also talked about how her and Jessica became friends. Some of the great tips she gave were hire an accountant to do your taxes, keep a planner by your desk to keep organized, and utilize Facebook ads to bring in more clients. Hearing about how she too didn't become a pro for some time and still doesn't believe that she knows it all was really reassuring. I firmly believe that sometimes we all need to hear from an outside perspective that we aren't ever going to be perfect is absolutely necessary for us to grow as people. I greatly appreciate Jenny taking the time from her work to come talk to us about her struggles and her achievements.

Stewart stole the show with his list of tips via his phone. He spoke about how Google Sheets, Trello, Keynote and Squarespace are great tools for us to use to keep organized and on top of weekly tasks. Stew is a master with brand storytelling and has an mind for understanding social media marketing. Most of what he focused on with us was working with brands that will elevate our work. The biggest takeaways for me were reach out to brands with a value packed plan of action, create Client Decks that involved visual inspiration and colors schemes, and utilizing Trello as a way to stay organized with tasks. I am so very thankful and grateful for his time and his expertise.

 
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Meeting Jessica was such an INCREDIBLE experience!! At the end we got to network with each other and get a picture with our speakers. Jessica is so sweet and such a friendly person. It felt so surreal to meet her but I felt like we were instantly friends. This picture of us will always remind me of what I learned that day. The memory is for sure a great one!