Salud: Mindful Meditation
Welcome to Week 2 of Salud: Mindful.
Last week you were introduced to mindful breathing. Whether it was a brand-new experience, or you were simply refining your practice, we hope you saw positive shifts in your stress level and mood while learning a simple and effective tool to manage stress in the Hodl Era. We highly encourage you to continue incorporating moments or minutes of mindful breathing into your day, as the more you practice, the more natural it will become.
This week we are diving into mindfulness meditation: what it is, the benefits, and how to practice. It has similarities to the mindful breathing practice with some slight differences.
Download the 3-week Mindfulness program in PDF to view on the go.
Why Mindfulness Meditation?
Meditation can feel intimidating to beginners and advanced practitioners alike, so we will take a simple approach. First of all, meditation is merely an approach to training the mind, like the way running is an approach to training the body. There are many types of meditation, but most have four elements in common: a quiet location with as few distractions as possible, a specific and comfortable posture, a focus of attention, and an open attitude. For this program we will concentrate on mindfulness meditation.
In mindfulness meditation, we are invited to become aware of the present moment by observing the thoughts, feelings and sensations, without getting involved in them. You can think of this as a witnessing of the mind’s activity. It is important to note; the goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions altogether. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions as they arise and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.
Through this practice, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move patterns. Over time, you can become more cognizant of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, right or wrong. By cultivating awareness, we can begin to shift our thought patterns to support acceptance of what is unfolding in the moment.
Meditation and the Brain
Current findings suggest that meditation, even in small doses, can profoundly influence your experience of the world by remodeling the physical structure of your brain. Like anything else that requires practice, meditation is like a training program for the brain. Regular use may strengthen the connections between neurons and can also make new connections. These tiny changes, in thousands of connections, can lead to visible changes in the structure of the brain. Those structural changes, in turn, create a brain that is better at doing whatever you’ve asked it to do.
To put this simply, if you practice focusing attention on your breath, the brain will restructure itself to make concentration easier. If you practice calm acceptance during meditation, you will develop a brain that is more resilient to stress. And if you meditate while cultivating feelings of love and compassion, your brain will develop in such a way that you spontaneously feel more connected to others. So, by practicing mindfulness meditation, we are developing the ability to remain present among all the distractions we face. Present moment awareness is a valuable skill that influences our overall connectedness, contentment, stress and the list goes on.
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Like last week, find a comfortable seat with length through your spine. You could also lay down if sitting is uncomfortable for any reason.
Close your eyes or hold a soft, still gaze.
Breathe naturally; make no effort to control the breath.
Focus your attention on the sensations you are experiencing in the present moment. Your physical body, breath, thoughts and environment.
When you’re through, gently lift your gaze or open your eyes. Take a moment to notice how you feel and how you want to continue with your day.
*You may find your mind wandering constantly—that’s normal and expected. Instead of wrestling with or engaging with those thoughts, practice observing without needing to react. Just stay, pay attention and do so repeatedly without judgment or expectation. Think of meditation as a 4 part-cycle.
For week 2, set aside 5-10 minutes each day to formally practice mindfulness meditation. Choose from the guided audio recordings given until you feel comfortable setting a timer to practice on your own. Continue to practice mindful breathing throughout the week, possibly as a preparation to your meditation practice.
For example, you could begin with a few minutes of mindful breathing that you learned in week 1, and directly following begin 5 minutes of meditation. As you shift from mindful breathing to mindful meditation, you will go from focusing solely on your breath to focusing on the body as a whole, your thoughts, your emotions and any sensations you are experiencing. Use the 4 part-cycle to offer structure to your practice, especially if you are a beginner.
Guided Audio Meditations
Bonus Practice – Permission to say NO
This week, give yourself permission to say NO. No to invitations that will drain you, no to working late, and no to giving in to consumer culture. Aim to say no at least once this week when you would usually say yes out of habit or to please others. This act requires us to pause before we respond and choose an answer that resonates with our own needs. Another simple, but radical practice.
Here are a few meditation apps that we love.
Exploring a variety of meditations from diverse teachers creates a more well-rounded practice, which is one reason why meditation apps are so beneficial.
Continue to Salud: Mindful Ritual
We are here to support you on your bitcoin journey, so please reach out to email@example.com with questions, comments or feedback on the program and your experience. Download the program PDF or save the site URL to access program anywhere you go!
Download Salud: Mindfulness here. You can find the complete 9-Week Salud: Health Action Plan here.
“Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh