When dealing with chronic stress, anxiety and depression, what is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves? Mindfulness. When paired with meditation, mindfulness resets mood and develops a consistently positive mindset.

Over time, a mindfulness practice can help ease the stress of modern life. Below is an overview of what mindfulness and meditation are, as well as how one can begin practicing.

What is Mindfulness?

In simple terms, mindfulness is the natural state of being conscious or aware. In some ways, everyone is already doing it all the time. Yet, the things that many people focus on cause negative feelings, anxiety, and stress.

This can lead to irritability, loss of sleep, and depression. Mindfulness gives us a choice of what to focus on. It gently redirects attention back to the present.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is the mental practice of focus on the self. There are two main types of meditation.

The first is concentration, featuring things like mantras and the repetition of phrases.

The second kind of meditation is mindfulness. This type involves observing thoughts as they wander through one’s mind. When paired together mindfulness and meditation turn focus inward in a non-judgmental way.

Why Practice Both?

Meditation will make it easier for you to be mindful throughout your daily life. It can help you find balance, as well as to have more patience with yourself and others. That’s not all!

The benefits of consistent mindfulness and meditation are far-reaching. They include:

  • Lowering stress hormones, such as cortisol
  • Strengthening relaxation responses
  • Improved focus and concentration throughout the day
  • Reduction of chronic stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improved sleep

Taken altogether, the benefits of mindfulness meditation are powerful.

How to Get Started

Anyone can practice mindfulness meditation. No matter a person’s age, location or physical ability, mindfulness meditation is open to all. Some basic principles of an effective mindfulness and meditation practice include:

  • Consistency: Effective practices start slowly. The most important thing is to do it daily, even for only a minute or two at first.
  • Patience: While it is simple, it’s not easy at first. Results may take longer than expected, particularly at the beginning.
  • Non-judgment: The key is to simply observe, not identifying with thoughts as they occur.
  • Guidance: Having guidance in some way can help. It can be done alone, but many people take classes, use apps, or hire an instructor.

There is no right or wrong way.Resources are available to help you, if you’d like to explore them. Yet, the most important thing is to begin.

Once you do, you may find that patterns of thought may emerge. With practice, you may become aware of a tendency to judge people and experiences as good or bad. With this information, you can take steps to work toward a more balanced inner dialogue.

Developing a mindfulness meditation practice can lead to a more healthy, balanced life. Is that what you want? Give yourself this life-changing gift. Get started today!