Get started with your meditation practice:4 great exercises to try this autumn

 

Listening to your body's signals and needs isn't always an easy task. Many of us are great at performing at a high pace, and listening inward can be especially challenging. A great way to get in touch with your inner self and ground yourself is through mindful presence and breathing.

You're probably familiar with the concepts of mindfulness and meditation, but how often do you really take the time to stop, be in the moment and just breathe Maybe not as often as you need to.

Setting aside time for a short meditation or mindfulness practice can make a big difference for your mind and body. The beauty of breathing exercises is that it requires so very little. It can be done at home, at work, in the shower or at the gym and it doesn't need to take more than a few minutes.

What effect can meditation and mindfulness actually have 

Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness and meditation can: reduce the risk of depression, reduce stress, improve emotion regulation and improve memory. In addition, it can contribute to better physical health and stronger relationships.

Make meditation part of your daily routine

Try to find something that works for you. Meditation and mindfulness can look very different, so try to get a feel for what works for you in your everyday life. As with all new habits it's good to give it time. Avoid rushing anything. It won't always turn out the way you planned and that's okay. Incorporating a meditation practice into your everyday life involves both patience and focus, and like any other new thing, it takes practice.

4 useful exercises for getting started with meditation and mindfulness

  • Start by sitting still for five minutes and concentrate only on your inhalation and exhalation. Try to repeat every day. After some practice, try doing it standing up or during a walk.
  • Take advantage of nature. Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing) simply means spending time in the forest. Try to pay attention to sounds, smells, colors and feel the ground under your feet.
  • Make cooking a moment of mindful presence. Notice the colors and textures of the ingredients, feel the flavors, think about what you are doing in each moment. How does it feel to chop a carrot Try to make it a habit to be present when you cook and eat..
  • Follow three inhales and three exhales when you feel unfounded or stressed. Try to focus all your attention on your breathing. This is a very simple exercise that is perfect to do during the day at work, after your workout or in the shower.

Meditation and mindfulness are great tools for grounding yourself and getting in touch with your inner compass. If you find it difficult to make time in your day for the practice, try scheduling 5-10 minutes of alone time each day.

*This article is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment, nor should it be considered a substitute for it.

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