Mindfulness In 7 Steps: A Quick And Easy Guide

Mindfulness-Steps
We bring you a quick and easy guide to start your own mindfulness practice within the shortest possible time. It’s smart and effective, and yet brief and simple. Once you master this, we suggest you hold mini-workshops to teach this ‘Mindfulness In 7 Steps’ technique to others.

Meditation is a mental training to improve the ability to focus your attention, and control your emotions. There are many ways to meditate. Mindfulness meditation is one of them.

Throughout the existence of humans, since thousands of years, people have used mindfulness techniques to build awareness into the present moment with calm acceptance — to deal with the stressful facets of life. The Buddhist teachers methodically codified it as a practice of meditation.

One thing, not all mindfulness is meditation. And you don’t always have to meditate to practice mindfulness. You can also practice mindfulness without meditating — as mindful eating, walking, and listening.

Mindfulness And Being Mindful

At its simplest, when thoughts and emotions arrive in your mind, but you let them pass without getting carried away, you’re in mindfulness. It means you are paying attention to, and conscious of, what’s happening around you and inside you. Being mindful is being into a state of focused awareness of the present moment, dragging your mind away from the future and the past..

But we absolutely must add a little more to that definition: While you’re curiously aware of your passing thoughts, you must make sure you’re examining them without any judgment.

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment with an attitude of openness, curiosity, non-judgment, and acceptance.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the most famous researcher of mindfulness meditation from the West, and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, explains in following words: Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.

Mindfulness-definition

Edginess In The Modern Day

Have you ever realized that attempting to stay peaceful and relaxed just before an extremely challenging event has a typically opposite effect — it uploads an additional bulk of agitation into you? Did it happen to you that trying to get rid of your irksome habit often appears so hard that you almost mark it as impossible?

Does it get to you that a deeply satisfying state of happiness, a state of all-around wellbeing and true joy, often remains elusive, despite living a fortunate life?

Does it get to you that a deeply satisfying state of happiness often remains elusive, despite having a fortunate… Click To Tweet

These, and other such difficult situations that we often find ourselves in today’s world, have been traced to a change that happened in the brains of our earliest ancestors — which they passed down to us. It was a tendency of the humans to go after pleasure, and block out pain, that got biologically hardwired into the brain. We call this the Pain-Pleasure principle.

Evolutionary science hints that this automatic behavior pattern got hardwired into our earliest predecessors as a survival mechanism. If they didn’t run from pain, they wouldn’t have survived. And to run from possible pain, they were always looking out for dangers. That jungle-living ancestor’s mind was always on “What’s wrong here that can cause me pain?” mode. It is this that lies as the foundation of the many of our psychological issues that we routinely face in the modern world.

Ever since then, we are on a constant watch looking out for what could go wrong around us, even in the modern day.

Benefits Of Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness will help you take away the edginess from your mind. A regular practice of mindfulness meditation reduces stress, anger outbursts and over-thinking, and increases self-awareness, fulfillment and happiness. Among other benefits, studies have demonstrated decidedly that people who practice mindfulness have:

  • improved their health and overall quality of life,
  • reduced their anxiety and depression,
  • increased their concentration, and
  • achieved stronger ability to cope more effectively with day-to-day stresses.

There are scientific proofs to its effects. No less than 21 brain scan studies over the ten years have revealed that long years of mindfulness practice reshapes our brain structure – especially the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), the right anterior insula (RAI) and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).

Studies also showed that while long-term stress shrinks our hippocampus (memory center of brain), mindfulness training increases grey-matter density in the same area. Come to think of it, the positive changes it brings about are happening at our brain levels, which is remarkable.

Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment with curiosity and openness, but without judgment. Click To Tweet

 7 Steps to Mindfulness

mindfulness in 7 steps
Preparation:

  • First, find a comfortable place where you can focus and will not be disturbed or interrupted.
  • Decide how long you’re going to dedicate. Set a timer. You can meditate as short or as long as you like.
  • Start with shorter periods, around 5-10 minutes. Tip: 10 min of  24-hours is just 0.7% of your day.
  • Now, place yourself in a posture that is both relaxed and alert, with your back reasonably straight.

Mindfulness in 7 Steps:

Step 1.
Take a deep breath and relax, with your eyes open or closed.

Be aware of sounds around you coming and going, and let them be whatever they are. Keep taking and releasing slow, deep breaths.

Step 2.
Close your eyes and drop all your concerns now, like setting down a heavy bag.

After the meditation, you can pick those up again — if you want to. Realize that you are allowing yourself this time to move away from worldly worries.

Step 3.
Now focus on your breath. Bring your whole awareness to the sensation of your breathing.

Sense the cool air coming in and the warm air going out. Feel the chest rising and falling, the belly expanding and contracting. Don’t try to control your breath; let it be whatever it is, flowing in and out of its own.

Step 4.
Start counting your breaths softly — count from one to ten, and then start over. Start back from one if you notice you missed the sequence before reaching number ten, because your mind had wandered.

It’s normal for the mind to wander. And when it does, just return to counting the breaths again from the start. Be gentle on yourself, letting go of all self-criticism.

Step 5.
Get more and more absorbed in your breathing. Start to notice the volume, speed, warmth and sound of the breath traveling in and out of your nostrils.

Once your mind settles down during the first few minutes, you will find it easier to focus your attention on the air as it travels deeper, in through the wind-pipe and into your lungs, and back out again. Open your whole consciousness to the simple process of breathing.

Step 6.
Now, bring your attention to the presence of the thoughts that are moving through your mind, trying to pull your attention away from your breath. Take notice of them. This is the most important step.

Let yourself be aware of those thoughts and feelings, wishes and plans, images and memories. Your streams of thoughts will keep alluring your mind away from your breath. Tell yourself: I’m noticing my thoughts, yet I’m not getting carried away by them. As Russ Harris says, “First, mindfulness is a process of awareness, not thinking.”

Don’t get caught up or fascinated in them to start thinking yourself away. But also, don’t struggle with them. The idea is to sit with your thoughts and let them be whatever they are. Most of all, just notice their impermanence as they finally fade off. And yet have an attitude of acceptance toward those free-flowing thoughts. Each time you catch yourself being dragged away by a thought, gently bring back your focus to your breath — again and again.

Step 7.
Feel a growing sense of peacefulness within as you keep settling into the breath with more focus.

Notice how it feels to get caught up in the passing contents of awareness—and how it feels to let them go by. Be aware of peaceful awareness itself. Once you’re there in the state of peaceful awareness, you may decide to sit in that state for as long as you want. Finally, you may bring the meditation to an end by opening your eyes, stretching out your hands and getting up.

Final Words

Now that you’ve learnt these seven simple steps, it’s time to invite mindfulness into your daily life. You’ll do yourself a world of good with just 10 minutes out of your 24-hours.

It will boost your happiness levels, better your social relationships, and build your immunity. Mindfulness practice decreases anxiety, stress and pain-perception. It will make you more compassionate and attentive. Some say it will also increase your lifespan.

So, start the practice today. And prepare to teach others in your community the same easy and effective method by holding mini-workshops.

Mindfulness says, 'When you accept, you transform.' Click To Tweet

Here’s a 5-minute Guided Mindfulness video:

Read More

  1. 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today – Emma Seppala.
  2. Wherever You Go, There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  3. Mindfulness – Ellen J Langer
  4. The Mindfulness Edge – Matt Tenney, Tim Gard
  5. A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook – Bob Stahl, Elisha Goldstein

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