Have you heard about mindfulness? Or meditation? Most probably you have. But how about mindfulness meditation? Mindfulness meditation is a great way to experience the current moment and include that awareness into your everyday life, reaping multiple benefits, such as less stress. It is easily understandable that this technique can be extremely beneficial to seafarers as well, due to their hectic nature of work. So, it this article you will find everything you need to know to get started on mindfulness meditation.
How mindfulness meditation works
Mindfulness is the ability of being present and fully engaged with whatever you are doing at the moment. It means that you are free from distraction or judgment, and most importantly, that you are aware of your thoughts and feelings without dwelling on them.
It does not only change people’s mindset and perspective, but it can actually change the shape of our brains. In fact, Gaëlle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at HMS, has used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which not only takes pictures of the brain, as a regular MRI does, but also records brain activity occurring during the scan. In 2012, she demonstrated that changes in brain activity in subjects who have learned to meditate hold steady even when they are not meditating.
The benefits of mindulness meditation
Meditation gives us the ability to move from high-frequency brain waves to a lower frequency. This can eventually decrease traits such as fear, stress, and anxiety. Additionally, meditation can also create new pathways to the parts of the brain responsible for traits like focus and decision-making.
What is more, mindfulness meditation can have positive impact to the the area of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, planning, and problem-solving. It can also improve learning and memory, while the amygdala, which regulates how we feel stress, fear, and anxiety, decreases in size.
These facts present that the positive effects of mindfulness meditation is real. In fact, people who make mindfulness meditation a habbit, often report increased levels of happiness, patience, acceptance, and compassion. On the other hand, the level of stress, frustration, and sadness have fallen.
8 meditation techniques to enhance mindfulness
1. Focused Attention: Focus your attention on the breath. Return to the breath whenever you get distracted or notice your mind starting to wander.
2. Body Scan: This technique uses meditation to scanning your body from head to toe, in order to be aware of any discomfort, sensations, or aches that exist.
3. Noting: This is a mindfulness technique in which you “note” a particular thought or feeling when you become distracted during meditation.
4. Loving Kindness: Instead of focusing on the breath, this technique regards focusing on the image of different people. Through this technique, you will direct well-wishes and goodwill first to yourself, and then to others.
5. Skillful Compassion: Similar to the loving kindness meditation technique, this one involves focusing on a person you know or love and paying attention to the sensations coming from the heart.
6. Visualization: With visualization you focus on a person or something more abstract, to hold attention. The idea is that the familiar image will help create and maintain a relaxed focus.
7. Resting: Τhis technique involves letting the mind rest. Thoughts may enter, but instead of distracting you and pulling you away from the present moment, they simply leave.
8. Reflection: Ask yourself a question, such as, “What are you most grateful for?” Be aware of the feelings, not the thoughts, that arise.
In today’s rush, we all think too much–seek too much–want too much–and forget about the joy of just being
– Eckhart Tolle