We’re all looking for new ways to feel healthy and better manage stress. Enter mindful meditation. “There are so many benefits to meditation. Things like better cognitive function, lower heart and respiratory rate, lower blood pressure, less response to stress, less reactivity to negative situations, better sleep, enhanced work performance, and lowering the perception of pain in people dealing with chronic illness,” says Dr. Kathy Gruver, PhD, LMT, natural health practitioner and author of Conquer your Stress.
A 2019 study published in the American Journal of Nursing Research also supports the claim that mindfulness training reduces stress, anxiety, and depression levels in patients with depression.
Even those who aren’t experiencing mental health issues can gain psychological benefits from incorporating the practice into their routine.
Ready to get started? Follow these expert tips to help make meditation part of your daily routine.
Start with mindfulness
“Mindfulness is simply going about an activity with curiosity and focus, using all of your senses and remaining in the present moment,” says Dr. Gruver. With that in mind, you can apply mindfulness to any activity, even something as simple as folding laundry. For example, feel the warmth of the clothing fresh out of the dryer. Smell the scented fabric softener.
Using your senses to engage in any activity trains you to respond to situations thoughtfully, says Dr. Gruver.
Try mini meditations
The mini meditation is so simple to learn, and you can do it anytime, anywhere. Dr. Gruver instructs people to concentrate on their breath, and the rise and fall of their chest. On the inhale think, “I am.” And on the exhale think, “at peace.” Repeat with every inhale and exhale. If you get distracted by other thoughts, simply dismiss them and return to your breath.
“Even if you start with five minutes and increase it as you get the hang of it, you will see the benefits,” says Dr. Gruver.
Use technology for guidance
There is a wealth of resources available right on your phone. Some apps include guided meditations, sleep stories, and even mini sessions for specific moments.
Not your speed? Try one of the biggest trends in mindfulness—ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. In short, it stimulates relaxation and induces sleep using a series of repetitive sounds. Learn more about it in this article from the Washington Post.