Mindfulness is Mainstream! Steps for an Effective, 5 Minute Meditation
By Georgia Tetlow, MD and Jill Maddock, PIM Office Manager
At PIM, we are always excited to see one more way that our community has access to information that can give them the tools to be well. We offer FREE monthly group classes at Cabrini University, view our presentation, including Q&A clips with Dr. Tetlow herself from our recent talk: Latest in Mind Body Science. The next free class is on 5/9: Intro to Healthy Weight. This is an introductory talk, leading up to the first of our Deep Dive Series-where 16 guests will have a chance to dive deeper into topics and get some one on one time with Dr. Tetlow. Deep Dive classes are $75 at sign up online. View and register for one of our upcoming events.
A recent special edition of Time Magazine was titled “Mindfulness, The New Science of Health and Happiness.” You can buy it online or read some of Time’s many mindfulness articles here.
There is a modern misconception that busyness, anxiety and being uptight is required to be effective. This self-perceived need to respond to every email, text message and like every instagram post has grown as far to effect our “fight or flight” response. Our bodies are designed to be active and provide energy, followed by a recovery time. We are often not giving ourselves the recovery time because our devices follow us home. Mindfulness can provide tangible results in reducing this response and increase overall health of our nervous system.
Research shows that we tend to change our task every three minutes during a typical workday! This is counter-intuitive, because the time it takes to get back on the original task is significant.
One study conducted show that people who regularly meditate improve their perception, mood and even form new brain patterns and that can lead to a more efficient ability to pay attention. You have the possibility to change your brain if you change your thoughts!
Mindfulness and meditation can be hard to approach if you aren’t sure where to start. If you have tried in the past and decided that your mind is just too active for meditation, challenge that exact thought- this is exactly what you need! A regular meditation practice matters most when it can be taken into your life, off your cushion or yoga mat. If you meditate and find yourself drifting off to think about how you need to pick up groceries on you way home, that’s okay, this is a part of meditation and you are just learning what is going on in your mind. After your thought trail, try to come back. Once you can give yourself permission to settle in, you will find it very natural.
Steps to an approachable 5 minute meditation:
Minute 1: Deep Breaths. Sit in a chair with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands resting on your thighs (palms face up for reception to the outside or facing down to connect to yourself). Either close your eyes to focus on your inner self and workings of your body or soften your gaze a few feet in front of you to strengthen your ability to remain serene despite external stimulation. Deepen you breathing through the mouth or nose, whichever is most natural for you while inhaling for a count of four, then exhale for a count of six.
Minute 2: Find Your Pace. Let your breathing fall into a natural pace without counting. Observe what your breath feels like- is it shallow or strained? Tune into the rhythm of the rising and falling of your body.
Minute 3: Maintain Your Focus. Random thoughts or to do’s may arise, don’t follow them or force them out, instead visualize them as a harmless cloud passing in the sky. This perception enables you to acknowledge the worries and avoid responding emotionally with attachment. If you are unable to detach from the thought, write it down and come back to your meditation.
Minute 4: Relax! Simply sit and release your focus on breath. Do nothing.
Minute 5: Gratitude. Think of something you are thankful for and transition to your physical feelings. Open your heart and open your eyes to begin the rest of your day in a calm and collected manner.
PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with mindfulness? Did you find this article helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Interested in connecting with PIM? Register for one of our upcoming events - FREE Group Classes at Cabrini College (please RSVP online) OR Nutrition Classes with our very own Rachel Hershberger, MS, CNS, LDN, tickets just $45 at sign up (limited to 8 participants for individual attention, no walkins, please).
If you or your loved one want to improve overall well being or are suffering from a chronic illness, please consider scheduling a 20 minute free consultation or an appointment with Lauren Houser, MS, MSN, CRNP or Annmarie McManus, MMSc, PA-C, PT, IFMCP.
Dunn, Janice. “The Art of Meditation.” Time Magazine. December 2017: 46-49.
Williams, Mary E. “Why Every Mind Needs Mindfulness.” Time Magazine. December 2017: 8-15.