What is mindfulness meditation (and can it help me with my pain?)
- Have you heard about mindfulness meditation, yet you are pretty sure you ‘can’t do it’ as it means silencing your thoughts?
- Are you interested in learning more, yet are worried that perhaps meditation might involve bells, chanting or incense?
Well here is your all-questions-answered guide to mindfulness meditation and why millions of people all over the world are reaping the benefits of this simple practice!
1- What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply the practice of paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment as it arises, without judgement.
In simpler terms, it means instead of thinking about work when you are eating breakfast, thinking about lunch choices when you are at work, dreaming of holidays when you’re at lunch, thinking about work when you’re on holidays, thinking about dinner when you are driving, planning the kitchen clean up when you are eating dinner or thinking about bathing the kids when you are cleaning the kitchen- (argh!!! so many thoughts all of the time!)- you can learn ways to remain more consistently present, and simply accept the moment that is. For example, this means, when you’re eating- simply enjoying your food!
How often is our mind occupied by the past issues not yet dealt with, or future scenarios that may (or may not) even exist? In the meantime, you’re walking on the beach without feeling your toes in the sand and potentially missing the view!!!
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention more often to the present moment (which can bring a lot of joy!), and there are various practices to help train your mind to do this more often. Watch this short explainer video on what is mindfulness here!
2- What is mindfulness meditation?
It is probably important to highlight here what mindfulness meditation is not. It is not killing your thoughts, silencing your mind, chanting, bells or incense. It is a technique, that anyone can do, backed up by neuroscience! Instead of trying to turn off thoughts or feelings, you learn to observe them without judgement and this can help get a healthy sense of perspective. Meditation for me personally, is quiet time I spend with myself and a journey inward. This journey can be different every time and can help find a source of great calm that exists within.
3- Do I have to sit on the floor cross legged?
No, you don’t! You can sit on a chair, you can lie down (although risk falling asleep!) or you can even walk slowly.
4- What are the benefits for me?
There are many scientifically proven benefits of a regular meditation practice, these include reducing stress, controlling anxiety, reducing pain, improving concentration, reducing the effects of aging and more!
5- How long do I have to meditate for?
Most of the studies published quote 20 mins of meditation a day to reap the health benefits. However, I personally have found benefit even in just ten short minutes. Even a brief 5 mins can calm the nervous system. The point is, your practice is your practice, and you get to choose!
6- I tried meditation once and my back and knees hurt just sitting too long!
Sometimes it is best to be taught tips and tricks to set your sitting posture in a way that can minimise some discomfort. However, that said, it is very unlikely to cause any spinal or knee damage with ten to fifteen minutes of sitting, and part of the practice is to observe what arises (sometimes that is pain) without attending to it. Learning to take a step back and observe sensations as they arise, can soon lead to the observation of sensations simply passing.
Can mindfulness meditation help me manage my pain?
Yes, it can! There is plenty of research that supports the use of mindfulness meditation techniques to manage pain. It can also reduce anxiety and stress, which often go hand and hand with the chronic pain experience. Learn more about chronic pain here!
- Are you interested in learning how to meditate but don’t know where to start?
- Do you want a supportive learning experience that is based on neuroscience and offers simple, practical and effective techniques to try that you can start on today?
Join me, Nichole Hamilton physiotherapist with lifetime access to your very own mindfulness meditation course from the comfort of your own home! Click here
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