Life happens fast, and it can be easy to get swept up in either daydreaming about the future or feeling nostalgic for days gone by. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with appreciating past memories or planning for times to come, if we exist entirely in those spaces, we miss out on what’s happening right now. Mindfulness is the remedy for future- and past-oriented living. It helps you pay attention to the now, to what’s taking place in this very moment—and mindfulness meditation, as you might imagine, is a way to experience mindfulness through your meditation practice.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation that involves observing your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise and practicing not reacting to or judging them. As your mind wanders, which is bound to happen, you simply notice what has drawn your attention away and then gently redirect yourself back to being present and aware.
Over time, this redirection becomes more natural, and you’ll find you’re able to be more present and nonreactive beyond your meditation practice, in all areas of your daily life.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation generally offers a host of benefits, and mindfulness meditation is no exception. Practitioners can expect reduced stress and increased feelings of calm and resilience. Mindfulness meditation can even help people manage challenging conditions like chronic pain and depression.
Other notable benefits include:
- More empathy
- Better blood pressure
- Improved sleep
- Antidote for work burnout
- …and more!
What’s the Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation?
We’ve talked about both mindfulness and meditation, but you may be a bit confused about the difference between the two terms.
Essentially, mindfulness is a state of being. It refers to being able to be present and aware in your life, an active participant in what’s going on inside and around you. On the other hand, meditation is a practice, a way to train yourself to be still and present, to show up in the moment.
Meditation is a tool. It’s just one way to become more mindful over time, and mindfulness meditation is a specific form of meditation that encourages being present and non-reactive to what comes up during your meditation session.
Make Daily Meditation Part of Your Routine
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness Exercises and Meditations
In general, mindfulness meditations ask only that you pay attention to what’s going on in your body and mind as you meditate—how you do this is up to you. You may meditate in this way through movement like walking, via creative arts like painting, or by performing a body scan meditation.
If you’re looking to become more mindful through a daily meditation practice, there are many resources to guide you, whatever your skill level or preferred way of learning. As far as classes and guided mindfulness meditation, here are a few of our favorite Skillshare recommendations!
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
In this course, you’ll discover how daily meditation can help you dive in to the present moment. You will learn that you are not your thoughts or feelings and begin to see that you can handle challenges with more clarity. You’ll even work on a meditation journal and have the opportunity to share it and get feedback from others.
Guided Mindfulness Meditation for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep
A lot of sleeping issues are related to stress and anxiety, so it makes sense mindfulness meditation could help alleviate that. Imagine being able to regularly get to a serene place just before bed—sounds lovely, right? It’s possible with the help of this offering, which will help you fight insomnia and relax into a more restful night’s sleep.
Five-Minute Mindfulness Meditation for Busy People
Appropriate for both children and adults, this class is great for busy folks—and who isn’t a little overscheduled these days? You’ll learn 12 five-minute meditation techniques that will allow you to expand your own practice long after the class is over and walk away feeling like you can handle the stresses of life.
4 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness Every Day
While a class is a great way to learn new things and solidify your mindfulness meditation practice, there are also habits you can build each day that will help you be more mindful overall. Here are four of them:
1. Make Meditation a Daily Priority
Be consistent with your mindfulness meditation practice. Whether you’re trying guided instruction meditations, meditating with a group of people, or going it alone, the most important part is that you keep showing up. That’s how you’ll strengthen your “mindfulness muscle” over time and cement the habit, which will bring awareness into your life even when you’re not meditating.
2. Develop a Gratitude Ritual
Gratitude can be a great, accessible way to feel more present. When you stop and think about all of the good things in your life or the awesome things that happened on a given day, you’ll realize that things are likely better than you thought. You’ll also start to see the positive things more readily as you go about your day because you’re in the habit of calling them out.
3. Spend Time Outside
Nature is the cure for so much that ails us, and spending time outdoors can help you to feel more present and mindful. Whether it’s taking your reading session outside or going on a nature walk, drop in to the moment and what you see, feel, and hear. The birds chirping, the trees rustling, the way the ground feels under your feet—noticing these things is the very definition of mindfulness.
4. Bring Mindfulness to Seemingly Mundane Tasks
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be only for planned, “special” activities or occasions—the point of it is actually to be able to engage more fully with your daily life, so why not start there? Whether you’re straightening up in your home, folding towels, refilling the water pitcher, or another task, try to engage all of your senses and tune in to what’s happening and how you feel.
Now that you know the basics about what mindfulness is and how to practice mindfulness meditation, you can try it for yourself! Learning to be more aware and present in your life will benefit you today and in the future, as you’re better equipped to enjoy the good things and meet challenges with a sense of calm and confidence.
Find More Ways to Be Mindful
The Ultimate Self-Care Playbook: Discover & Nurture Your Centered Self