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A Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation

Harness the power of your most important tool - your brain.

Image: Caleb Roenigk, Flickr

Meditation has come a long way. It’s no longer just for The Beatles, Steve Jobs or hippies in camper vans - it is for everyone, because ultimately it is about getting the most out of your brain and we all have one of those. Mindfulness meditation is about honing your sense of awareness to better experience life. It will improve your overall well being, give you a healthy sense of perspective and help you with managing your life better through lowered stress levels and better decision making.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation Health Benefits: What The Practice Does To Your Body

Article / ByMeredith Melnick

Not only can meditation improve general well being, it can also change the way neurons talk to each other, creating new circuits. These are the benefits observed during various studies into meditation.

  • Improves both the perception of pain and the actual neural response
  • Alters acute stress response and plays a role in shaping the brain structure
  • Prevents the thinning of the pre-frontal cortex - something that usually happens with age
  • Helps with the formation of new memories
  • Improves our ability to assess the emotions of strangers
  • Protects against heart disease
  • Reduces blood pressure

Click through to the source to read more about the research with exciting words like amygdala, hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex.

Mindfulness: a beginner's guide

Article / ByJon Henley

Mindfulness meditation is now recognised as an effective treatment for depression.This ancient eastern practice gained traction in the West when Jon Kabat-Zinn successfully used it in the 1970s to treat patients with chronic pain. “In everyday life, mindfulness is about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, rather than ‘living in our heads’.” Mark Williams a professor at Oxford University describes mindfulness as “a direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment”.

New Favorite Pastime Of The Business Elite

Article / ByCarolyn Gregoire

Meditation is now very much in the main stream. These business leaders have made meditation a part of their daily lives. The benefits for them include:

  • Stress relief.
  • Pain relief
  • Better decision making
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduction in illness

Start Meditating

Guided 10-Minute Meditation

Video / ByAndy Puddicombe
This is a very simple meditation to get you started. You don't have to think about anything. Just sit comfortably in a chair and follow Andy's instructions. The follow up meditations are available via the, Headspace website .

How To Meditate: A 10 Step Beginner’s Guide

Article / ByJason Billows

If you prefer not to have someone else's voice in your head during meditation, then try these step-by-step instructions to get started. There is no correct length of time for meditation, but most people are able to start with ten minutes.

Meditation Apps

Headspace

App / ByHeadspace
Headspace have managed to rebrand mindfulness meditation so that it's not just current, but also hip and trendy. You can access their meditations via their website or apps. They make adopting a daily meditation practice much easier than going it alone. Their Take10 (ten minutes for 10 days) program is currently free. Each meditation is preceded by a short animation to help you get the most out of your meditation. Available from : iTunes , Google Play

Buddhify

App / ByBuddhify
The buddify app is about meditation on the go. The latest version contains guided meditation tracks for 14 different activities which make up your day so you can develop mindfulness anywhere and everywhere - on the train, at work, when online, at home and much more. Available from : iTunes

Meditation Books and CDs

Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day

Book / ByAndy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is a former Buddhist monk with extensive training in meditation. As I went through his book these words stood out for me, "..I struggled with my mind...I struggled with the endless thinking." You see, this is how exactly how I feel. This book is an excellent and clear introduction to meditation. It covers the following three parts of meditation: how to approach the technique, how to practise it, and how to integrate it into our daily lives. There are also stories and analogies to give you more insight into meditation.

Guided Mindfulness Meditation

CD / ByJon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This CD set is part of an eight week mindfulness course. The four CDs are: Body Scan Meditation, Mindful Yoga 1, Sitting Meditation, and Mindful Yoga 2. Despite their length (45 minutes) these meditations are a great way to incorporate mindfulness practice into your daily life. A few users of this CD set have reported that they were not so keen on his voice, so try one of his YouTube videos before buying.

I am the founder of SelfCentr.com. I love reading personal development books and try very hard to implement the stuff that resonates with me. For the most part I am paralysed by fear and indulge in the fine art of proscrastination. So it's small changes for me.

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