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Mindfulness and open heart meditation

Mindfulness, in its simplest terms, is a form of meditation where you pay full attention to what’s happening while being present in that moment. Unfortunately, our minds can veer off into distractive or obsessive thoughts causing us to lose focus on what we are doing and how we are feeling. Practicing mindfulness can help increase your ability to relax, gain a greater zest for life, and improve your self-esteem. So, whether you’re looking to slow things down or re-center your energy, mindfulness can be incredibly beneficial. Here are some steps to get started.

There are two types of meditation: passive and active.

Passive Mindfulness

Passive meditation is when you engage in activity—without being physically active. Some passive meditation exercises include:

Sitting meditation. Probably the easiest exercise to get you started, you sit relaxed with your back straight, feet flat on the floor, and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath. Sit for periods of 20 to 30 minutes. If you start to get uncomfortable or your feet fall asleep, it’s ok to slowly adjust your position.

Body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body.

Guided meditation. Guided meditation can help you take out the guesswork of mindfulness. Whether you sit or lay, guided mediation is where you let another person’s voice lead your practice. You can find an abundance of guided meditation apps, podcasts, or videos with a focus on stress reduction, relaxation, etc.

Active Mindfulness

If you prefer to keep moving while you are meditating, active mindfulness can help you focus on your breath through movements. Some active meditation exercises include:

Walking meditation. Whether it’s a trip around your block or a visit to a park, find a safe quiet place and begin to walk slowly. Focus on each step you take; listen to the sounds and become aware of the sensations around you. If your mind starts to wonder, bring it back by breathing and concentrating on each step you take.

Yoga. With deep breathing at its core, Yoga is intrinsically one of the best forms of active meditation. Through strengthening and stretching poses, called asana, yoga is a practice that invites meditation through movement and mindful breathing.

Either form of mindfulness offers powerful benefits including reduced rumination and stress, improvements to working memory, less emotional reactivity, and relationship satisfaction.


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