What is Mindfulness Meditation?

mindfulness meditationThe thing I love most about meditation is that it can become an integral part of our daily lives. Mindfulness meditation is particularly relevant to this way of living.

With the increase of interest in meditation and the profound effect it can have on our daily lives, there is an upsurge in research into its benefits. Douglas Coatsworth, associate professor of human development and family studies, has been studying the place of mindfulness in developing family based interventions to help families deal with the potential behavior problems of adolescents

Mindfulness interventions frequently draw from eastern meditation and contemplative practices and have been used effectively to treat depression, substance abuse, and a variety of stress-related physical and psychological conditions. Our efforts apply mindfulness principles and interventions within a preventive intervention to teach parents how to deal more effectively with daily stressful situations, especially in their relationships with their adolescents.

The idea that mindfulness can help with relationships is in itself not new. Being aware of the needs of others is an integral part of any successful relationship, however, giving it a name and seeing it as a strategy gives it kudos and people are more ready to accept it as a possible solution.

“We think that being mindful — which simply means bringing your attention to what’s happening in the present moment — can have a profound, positive impact on interpersonal relationships,” says Coatsworth, whose research focuses on the effects of mindfulness on relationships between spouses, between parents and their children, and between teachers and the children in their classes.

“We’ve all had these moments in relationships when you just were not heard, when the other person’s attention was somewhere else,” he says. “And it feels bad. It feels like you’re insignificant at that moment. In our work at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center,  we are trying to bring mindfulness into these everyday interactions as a way of helping people to be truly present and, therefore, to enhance the quality of their relationships.”

Meditation is usually thought to be a matter of sitting in silence for a given amount of time, maybe saying a mantra or simply quietening the mind. Mindful meditation might be more along the lines of meditation on the breath or bringing your attention to the present moment. However Coatsworth is suggesting that mindfulness can also be used in everyday situations

“Imagine that you’re seeing a situation with your kids unfold and you’re beginning to feel that knot form in your stomach or that tension building in your shoulders,” he says. “You know you are about to explode. What can you do at that lower level of emotion to help you avoid overreacting?”

One thing you can do, Coatsworth explains, is take several deep breaths and try to focus on those breaths. This practice, he says, has a natural calming effect.

Another thing you can do, he adds, is look at a situation in a nonjudgmental and compassionate way. He calls this practice using the beginner’s mind, or seeing things as if for the first time in order to avoid getting caught in an automatic cycle of reacting…….More at Probing Question: What is Mindfulness? – Gant Daily

Many of the problems in our modern world are due to the fact that we don't have time to "smell the roses" We have become" human doings" and have forgotten how to be "human beings". We no longer spend quality time together and have forgotten how to listen and show interest and care towards others in our lives. Mindfulness meditation helps to make us more aware of others and can help us to stop and listen, to be present and to deal more effectively with our daily problems.

Comments

  1. This is interesting. I've always thought of meditation as sort of escaping from the present moment – a place you go to get calm and more focused and then you are ready to face the present…
    The fact that I thought of coming back to the present as a battle where I had to get equipped to tackle it speaks volumes, doesn't it?

    • Hi Shannon – what an interesting observation. But I suppose you can can only get calm and focused if you are actually meditating in the present moment and not allowing your thoughts to wander to the past and to the future.

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