Meditation for Mindfulness and Stress Reduction
Are you paying attention to right now, this moment? The past is gone, the future is unknowable, and all we really have is now. If you are like me perhaps you sometimes find yourself preoccupied with the past or worrying about a future that hasn’t arrived.
Unfortunately, if we don’t practice being “mindful” about our thoughts, mindful about the stories we tell ourselves, we can trick ourselves into believing that our stories are “the truth” about the world and not just our experience.
The price for ignoring the present can be high and promote:
- Worry about the future that leads to chronic anxiety and fear
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that lead to depression
- Feeling that nothing is ever good enough leading to dissatisfaction, stress and burnout
So what can be done to avoid the stress and negativity that comes from not being in the present moment? Spending just 1 minute in meditation can help focus your attention on where you are now and restore your inner calm. Benefits from meditation are numerous. Here is a list of just a few:
- Improved feelings of physical well-being
- Improved concentration
- Increased energy
- Decrease in anxiety and depression
Meditations are simple and can only take a few seconds. You may find that your mind starts to wander while you practice. Simply bring your attention back to the meditation without judging or concern. You should expect that your mind will wander often when you first start meditating but your awareness and focus will improve with practice.
4-7-8 Breathing Meditation
Inhale through your nose to the count of 4.
Hold your breath for the count of 7
Exhale slowing through your lips for the count of 8
(Repeat three times)
Dear God, I open my heart to you and I rejoice that you are as close to me as my next breath and that in the midst of chaos, I am growing and learning. With rejoicing in my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love. Amen.
(Pray three times)
I am a radiant person of positive energy.
Everyday in every way I am getting stronger and better.
I am filled with light and spiritual love.
(Repeat three times)
Most people experience immediate results from meditating but practice and repetition are important in increasing its power. Make it a habit! Practice at a regular time, several times a day. Start off with a short practice and gradually increase the amount of time you meditate.
"Wherever You Go There You Are"- Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
“The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund Bourne
Susan Swift, RN, MSN, FP/MHNP is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with Adventist Health Medical Group. Susan accepts referrals from Adventist Health Medical Group primary care providers.