Regular mindfulness and meditation help your brain to ‘exercise’, boosting how much you are able to concentrate and pay attention. By doing this, you are able to start to notice things that previously you were not aware of: for example negative thought patterns, which can then in the longer term be altered. Mindfulness teaches us that we are not our thoughts, and that we can develop control over them, leading to increased well being and happiness.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or stress, mindfulness can be a useful tool for you to start to gain control over what initially seemed uncontrollable. This practice is for EVERYONE however, and everyone can benefit from practicing regularly. Having said this, it takes time, patience and will-power to notice a difference. Typically, you should begin to notice a change between 2 – 3 months if you keep up your practice on a daily basis. Research has shown that a regular practice over this time period actually physically changes your brain, increasing the mass of your prefrontal cortex, responsible for cognitive, behavioural and emotional functioning. Meanwhile, your amygdala (the area which releases adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones responsible for many of the symptoms of stress and anxiety) shrinks in size.
Try these short guided mindfulness meditations below. You can make these part of your daily routine: the shortest is only 5 minutes long.
5 Minute Guided Hourglass Meditation
10 Minute Guided Meditation Focusing on the Breath
10 Minute Meditation – Body Scan