Meditation and Mindfulness

Posted in General on Mar 14, 2019

There are many ways to earn Vitality points by being physically active. You can also earn points by being mentally healthy too. Meditation and mindfulness are being proven to not only help you reduce stress and anxiety, but also help you reduce physical illness.

What are Meditation and Mindfulness?

Meditation is purely about sitting or lying still, controlling your breathing and letting your mind wander. Mindfulness is slightly more complex but is also about being still. While sitting or lying down you take notice of all your thoughts and feelings, becoming very aware of the moment, reconnecting with our bodies and noticing every sensation.

How can these techniques improve physical health? The idea of mindfulness is to understand ourselves better and be more aware of our thoughts, sensations and feelings. Taking time to notice changes in stress levels and general health. There have been many studies undertaken that are seeing a link between mindfulness and an improved immune system as well as weight loss (due to a reduction in emotional eating). Meditation helps us to relax and calm down, after a busy day at work or a stressful day with the kids. Some people meditate before bed, in order to wind down and prepare the body for sleep.

How do you meditate or practice mindfulness? They are many techniques for both meditation and mindfulness and they vary in effectiveness for the individual. There are hundreds of books on the subject, but the best way to get started (and be able to log your Vitality points) is to download an app to your smartphone.

The apps Vitalityrecommend are Headspace, Buddhify, Calm andThe Mindfulness App. They each give you some unique techniques to try. Not one technique works for everybody, so if at first, you don’t get on, then try a different app.

Most meditation and mindfulness techniques start with sitting or lying still and controlling your breathing. This seemingly simple idea is perfect for reducing stress and anxiety physical symptoms, make them easier to control and manage.

What sort of Technique can I expect from the apps? Sit or lie down, in a comfortable, relaxed position. Start by concentrating on your breath. Don’t breath too slowly or fast, just keep the breaths even and natural. Inhale through your nose for 3 seconds Hold your breath for 2 seconds Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds Repeat this for up to 10 minutes. If you find your mind wanders, then notice this, and take your attention back to your breath. You might find your mind wanders a lot, that’s OK, as soon as you notice bring your attention back to your breath. While you are breathing also notice any recurring thoughts, sensations or anything else that seems to draw your attention away from the breathing exercise. This can help you to understand yourself better. If you don’t have 10 minutes to spare then adjust the time of the exercise to suit. You don’t need to be sitting in a particular position, with your eyes closed or in silence, so this exercise can be utilised in any environment.

Mental health is just as important as physical health and needs maintaining just like healthy eating and exercising for physical well being. Using meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you relax and reduce stress. Trying some simple exercises for a few minutes every day will work towards keeping you healthy holistically.

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