Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness; what's the difference? Put simply, mindfulness is a state of mind and meditation is a practice to promote mindfulness. Mindfulness as the ability to maintain awareness moment by moment in an open and accepting way. There are many different ways to meditate and not all of them involve sitting still with your eyes closed. Meditation is about focusing your awareness. Although there are different ways to meditate, you'll usually be aiming to focus all your attention on one thing for a period of time. There are some myths about meditation; you are not trying to empty your mind or go into some kind of trance!
Why meditate? Meditation seems to offer the perfect recipe for mental wellbeing and it's good for you physically too. Research has identified a wide range of benefits including:
- enhanced self-esteem,
- better sleep,
- reduced stress,
- more optimism and happiness and
- improved concentration.
You can see why meditation and mindfulness is recommended for the treatment and prevention of numerous mental health problems, notably anxiety and depression. I've prepared a couple of meditations you might like to try.
The Gratitude Meditation is unusual in that you keep your eyes open throughout and there's some movement involved. That makes it quite an easy one to start with. It's great for everyone, but especially useful if you're feeling a bit down or depressed.
I've also recorded a more conventional meditation on the breath. It's a short introduction to classic meditation suitable for anyone.
Mindfulness in nature brings ecotherapy into the mix to create a powerful synergy.