Free Mindfulness exercises: Building your Mindfulness toolbox
Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual focuses their mind on a particular object, thought or activity to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, pain and is also used in the treatment of drug addiction. Sitting crossed legged on the floor with hands placed in a certain position while chanting Ohm is not really the way for beginners to learn about meditation, especially in your own home. There are lots of free mindfulness exercises available on the internet and I encourage you to explore the different programs until you find the style that fits you and what you are trying to accomplish.
Mindfulness is a method of meditation geared toward using focus to enrich your daily life. Or to put it very simply, taking the time to just observe your actions and to concentrate on what and how your mind and body are reacting in an activity. Experience the action, translate the action to peace, and enhance the experience. Kind of like how a three year old child completely gets lost in something new. Try using mindful concentration while observing a young child at the discovery moment.
Stress, anxiety, depression, pain are all difficult to deal with. The medical, psychology and physiology communities should be consulted and part of any treatment plan you have. The old saying, “Follow the Doctor’s orders “ should be used as a mantra. A lot of the prescribed medications are helping the majority of people. Meds can take a period of time to take effect and , when discontinued, take a equally long time to clear out of our systems. Side effects can vary from person to person.
For too many years, I have lived with Stress Tension Sinus Migraine Headaches. For myself, I prefer a minimum of a prescription drug regime and I am lucky that, in recent years, the headaches have almost disappeared. For years I had episodes of four plus headaches a DAY and nothing helped. My doctor finally put me on Lithium. It worked but I did not wish to be on Lithium long term. The health hazards associated with Lithium are not something I wish to live with hanging over my head. I continued to look for a betterway.
I tried acupuncture and natural herbs and have had great success. Add in learning about relaxation and meditation, I have been back to a healthy life. But I do not think that what worked for me is everyone’s answer, and I had the support of my Doctor while I transitioned off Lithium and into a healthier life style. Work with your doctor(s), look into alternate healing practices and, most importantly, believe in yourself.
What is mindfulness?
One of the best answers comes from Thay himself.
Mindfulnes master Thich Nhat Hanh has a simple breakdown of five exercises for mindfulness in everyday life.
Think of these as tools and begin building your mindfulness toolbox now.
Your First Tool
Mindful breathing is the first tool you need in your toolbox, no matter the end result you are seeking. You already have learned a lot of breathing exercises just going thru life. Think of the advice you have received in the past. For frustration or stress “Just slow down, breathe and think it thru.” For anger, “Take some deep breaths and calm down.” For giving birth, “Breathe, remember your Lamaze breathing,”
Take just a few minutes to sample two breathing exercises. If you are just beginning meditation, try the structured guided meditation for beginners. For more advanced, Dena Jensen has a breathing exercise based on Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings.
Headspace.com also has some good guided meditations for beginners and for more advanced meditations. You can sign up and use their website or download the app. Headspace tracks your progress and provides a limited free service. Still, for beginners, it offers a structured, easy to follow program that will begin to fill out the basics and help to start a daily meditation lifestyle.
There is an almost unlimited supply of free mindfulness meditations available. Truly something that may help you is hiding just around the next query, the next search. Download your favorites, the ones that help you most on the days you need it most and always be prepared for if/when your trial begins to interfere with your life.
Remember to build your tool box with the fundamentals and then expand it out.
Reward time! A little something just for you.
You know, meditation is more than clearing thoughts out and being a blank canvas. Practice the breathing exercise and focus on our next topic, Concentration. I’ll need some help on this one, my usual approach is to scatter seeds everywhere and see what happens. Sometimes I get beautiful flowers and sometimes just weeds but even weeds serve a purpose.
Little secret for you, I used to curl up in a little ball, hiding from light, noise, other people. and trying to hide from myself. Its not easy breaking the cycle, finding what helps just a tiny bit. I would love to hear about your methods for overcoming the challenges that we all face. As always, I welcome questions and comments. I am in no way a guru, but I listen and together we learn.
I still stumble, wander off, and get tired but I know I can find myself…
…Walking the Path of Peace,