It might be time for you to combine your physical workout with a mental workout. How? By practicing mindfulness meditation. Why should you start meditation? Because it has many benefits that can completely change how you see the world, relieve stress and help you put things into perspective.
Mindfulness meditation is different from relaxation. When you relax, you stop feeling any emotions by concealing them. It also doesn’t make you to dive into deep thought, as you might imagine. You just put your analytical skills aside. Mindfulness is a state of being that every human is able to experience. Jon Kabat Zinn, a professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines mindfulness as
“… the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment”.
Your attention must be drawn to the experience you’re having, without any judgment, expectations or frustration. It’s an exercise for the mind that enables you to better observe what’s going on inside you, such as tension throughout your body, and appreciate the present moment. You stop anticipating or predicting what’s going to happen in the future and live fully right now. Instead of focusing on what you’re “doing,” meditation encourages you to focus on just “being”.
Every thought conditions how your brain is structured. As such, your worldview and your body depend on your way of thinking. Even your body function can be changed by your mindset. Meditation can help those who are sick or depressed distance themselves from what’s causing their suffering. As for people who say they’re healthy, but who are perhaps a bit hyperactive, they can disconnect themselves from their continuous train of thought that flows through their minds to focus on the present moment. You feel more concentrated and feel better in your own body.
FizzUp tip: Careful, meditating doesn’t mean it’s time for a nap! If you start to feel sleepy, that’s because you’re associating a moment of serenity and self-focus with sleep.
Start meditation to help you get into a positive state of mind. The body scan is one of the practices you’ll find in mindfulness meditation. It helps you develop your senses and learn more about yourself. You pay more attention to the sensory information that your body sends you. During a body scan meditation session, make sure you:
Try a body scan meditation session by yourself step by step with these instructions from the FizzUp trainer. Don’t forget to set an alarm clock because a session can last 15, 20 or even 30 minutes if needed. Make sure that you’re in a calm environment and that no one disturbs you while meditating.
Get comfortable. Find a position in which your body feels light and free, while maintaining a good posture to help you breathe properly. Don’t be slouched or collapsed; this will keep your diaphragm and rib cage from working properly. Lie down with your legs straight and your arms at your sides, or stay in a seated position.
Close your eyes and try to put aside any causes of stress. Even if you can’t get them completely out of your mind, nothing is forcing you to pay attention to them. Don’t give any importance to any negative thoughts that might go through your head. Instead, focus your attention on your body. Start with your feet. Are they touching the floor? Do they feel heavy at the ends of your legs? How are your feet positioned in your shoes? Do they feel warm? Cold? Move your toes to feel how your muscles and tendons react. Try to observe your feet from all possible angles before you start to move up your body, toward your ankles followed by your calves. Keep going until you reach the top of your head. Check if any parts of your body are tense. Pay attention to how your clothes weigh on your limbs. Which parts of your body are touching the floor? How would you describe the contact it’s making? Hard, soft, pleasant or painful? Take your time and describe everything you feel so that you can become more aware of what you’re experiencing at this exact moment.
Next, observe your breathing movements and the air circulating in your body. Finally, slowly open your eyes to calmly come back to your surroundings. Slowly stand up and have a stretch, if needed.
FizzUp tip: If you’re scared you’ll fall asleep, try focusing on your breathing. The movements in your chest will keep you from nodding off.
Start meditation by taking some time to relax and seizing the present moment with the FizzUp trainer’s guidance. Ready to give it a go?