How Mindful Meditation Can Improve Your Wellbeing

In 2016, life is busier than ever before and it’s getting harder and harder to pause for a breath or to take notice of what is going on around you. 

When you don’t pay attention to what is happening, your mental wellbeing takes a hit. You can easily start to feel nervous, anxious and stressed because things are spiralling out of your control.

People who are aware of every single thing that takes place around them have found a way to lower the stress in their lives. They are more peaceful than busy. We call their sense of awareness “mindfulness.” 

Mindfulness can be sought via mindful meditation. This practice helps us to enjoy more of life, and we learn the true reality of things rather than relying on our distorted perceptions. Instead of letting everything pass us by, we stop and take notice. We grow in knowledge and experience, and become richer for it.

What Is Mindful Meditation?

Mindful meditation means that we know exactly what is happening internally and externally at any moment. 

It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ - caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.
— Former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre Professor Mark Williams

An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. 

That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs. Mindful meditation, then, is opening up your eyes so that you live in the present moment.

Too many of us live in the future; we forecast how something will turn out (usually for the worse), and therefore we either don’t take any action at all, or we stress about it first. This leads to a breakdown of our mental wellbeing. 

Instead of creating story lines for how something might pan out, live in the present moment and let what will be, be. 

How Mindful Meditation Boosts Mental Wellbeing

When we live in the present, we understand ourselves better. We also experience things that we’ve been taking for granted for far too long, such as the leaves on a tree, the smell of a flower on a summer’s morning, or the replenishing quality of rain. 

When we experience something, mindful meditation allows us to grasp the feelings felt during that moment. We see our thought patterns more clearly, and we are thus able to stop anxious, negative thoughts from taking over us. 

Naturally, we all have negative thoughts from time to time. But mindful meditation stops these thoughts from spiralling out of control. We are able to better train ourselves to notice when they’re about to get ahead of us, and we are able to nip them in the bud.

We are thus able to notice the signs of impending anxiety and stress, and are in a much better position to manage them. 

How To Be More Mindful

  • Take notice of the everyday things you need and the sensations you feel as you eat, walk, run, type, read, laugh, talk, smile and so on.
  • Pick a regular time to mindfully meditate each day.
  • Try new things. Sitting in a different chair at home can help you see the world in a different, as can walking your dog in a new park.
  • Remember that thoughts are just mental events that you can control. They don’t have to run amok and dictate your every decision and action.
  • Stop thinking about the past and the future. Think only of the present moment.