But taking that next step and actually incorporating these practices into our everyday lives can be tricky. We’ve teamed up with GMHBA to give you some tips on how to start.
Intentions of a morning meditation session may be quickly thwarted by the busyness of daily life, or simply the distractions of technology.
Studies have shown meditation and mindfulness to reduce stress, manage anxiety, improve sleep and even decrease blood pressure. A 2013 study found that mindfulness meditation reduced the inflammation response caused by stress.
It’s clear mindfulness is good for your health, but how can you actually make it a part of your everyday life?
First off, let go of the idea that you have to be in a specific place, or a specific situation to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is about bringing awareness and intention into our daily actions, be it going for a walk or making your morning cup of coffee.
A simple mindfulness exercise to try:
When you go for a walk, try being aware of your steps and your breath. Avoid listening to music or looking at your phone, and instead, pay attention to your senses and surroundings.
Look at the sky, the buildings, the trees. Feel the breeze and the sun on your skin. Listen to the noises – cars, birds, people talking. Notice any smells around you.
Towards the end of your walk, bring your attention back to your steps and your breath.
Starting with meditation
Another way to explore mindfulness is through meditation. This can be done in a class, with an app or simply by yourself. The great thing about meditation becoming mainstream is that there are plenty of options out there.
The key thing to remember about meditation is that it is not about controlling one’s thoughts. Rather, it is about paying attention to the thoughts that inevitably arise.
Calmness can be found by tuning in to your body’s internal rhythms, such as the breath. Whether it’s, one minute or one hour, a simple meditation practice does wonders for your wellbeing.
How to start with meditation:
- Find a comfortable sitting position in a quiet place.
- Stretch your back and settle your arms in a comfortable position near your torso.
- Let your gaze settle slightly downwards. You may close your eyes but you don’t have to.
- Take a moment to tune into your natural breath. Feel it enter your body as you breathe in, and exit your body as you breathe out.
- Your mind will naturally wander. This is okay. Simply notice this and return your attention to your breathing. When your thoughts wander again, simply return to your breath.
How to keep up your practice
Whether it’s a morning 10-minute meditation or a mindfulness walk, there are simple and effective ways to incorporate mindful practices into your daily lives and restore your sense of balance and peace.
Of course, like any practice it still takes some level of commitment. Luckily, there are ways to keep you motivated in your practice.
AIA Vitality is a science-backed health and wellbeing program that rewards you for your personal health behaviours. The program empowers you to explore your health and well-being through assessments and sets out goals, such as fitness or meditation targets.
The program features discounts on gym memberships, fitness devices, and nutrition advice, and lets you earn points and redeem rewards. It’s an effective, globally renowned program that encourages people to embrace healthier lifestyles.
AIA Vitality is offered with selected GMHBA’s private health insurance products. Visit gmhba.com.au to learn more.