Seems like everywhere we turn lately, we hear some variation on the theme of “becoming more centered” and using meditation and mindfulness to relax and de-stress from our harried and hurried lives.
We might wonder: does this stuff really work? And what does it really mean to “be mindful?” What is “centering?” Is it the same thing as meditation?
Let’s start with mindfulness. Here’s one definition: Mindfulness is the process of focusing the human brain on what is being experienced in the present moment. All worries about the past or the future are pushed away, even as we maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and environment.
Mindfulness helps us focus on what we can control: the present moment, rather than obsessing over the past, which is … well… PAST and can’t be changed, or worrying about the future).
Many mindfulness exercises include things like breathing patterns, listening to music, being out in nature, and perhaps more structured exercises, all of which can be considered either meditation or centering oneself.
A quick overview of benefits of meditation:
A few quick and easy (for real!) meditations you can try any time:
Or click here to check out the guided meditations on our Free Resources page.
Finally, here is a heartwarming story about how the Bloomfield School District is now using meditation to help their students remain calm during state testing. Bani Aello, a former school teacher herself, now teaches meditation, mindfulness, and yoga (http://www.baniaello.com/).