The calm you seek: Mindfulness tips for beginners
Learn how just a few minutes a day can help well-being
Imagine relaxing on a sandy beach. Feel the soothing warmth of the sun. Listen to the waves lapping the shore.
Can you feel your stress melting away? That’s the power of meditation or mindfulness training. It may provide you tranquil escapes like this — and you don’t even have to leave home.
For health and well-being
When you meditate, you can use visualization or other techniques to help calm your mind and body — and bring your awareness to the present moment. This soothing practice may help ease stress and anxiety — and help you cope with pain and illness. It may also help lower high blood pressure and improve your ability to focus on tasks.
Visualizing yourself in a peaceful place is an easy way to begin. Or you might try these other methods:
Deep breathing. Sit or lie down comfortably. Rest your hands on your stomach. Inhale through your nose for four counts, feeling your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a second. Then, slowly exhale through pursed lips for four more counts, feeling your stomach go back down. Relax and repeat.
Mindfulness meditation. Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet spot. Begin slowly breathing in and out, listening to each breath. If your mind wanders, it’s OK — don’t fight it. Let your thoughts pass. Then, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. With practice, you’ll get better at this.
Transcendental meditation. As you sit quietly, instead of focusing on your breathing, repeat a word, sound or phrase — such as “calm” or “I am at peace” — silently or out loud. Repeating a mantra helps focus your attention and clear away distracting thoughts.
You can start by practicing mindfulness just a few minutes a day. Later, you may want to build up to longer sessions. You might also consider honing your skills with classes, books, CDs, DVDs or online programs.
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