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Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:56 am
Aside from some shorter meditations, are there other things people found was useful to do or practice when first starting out?
Yes. Abdominal (diaphragm or belly) breathing exercises. You can do any time also while doing other activities. You breathe out slower than you breathe in. You can also hold your breath a few seconds.
Its the basis of meditation and yoga anyway and helps you relax
Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:13 pm
Thank you Isap
Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:12 pm
"Just reading through your thread. Do you feel mindfulness helps you on the whole? I know you practice it and so I presume you find benefits."
Hi Deb, I find it is the only thing I can do for myself without getting a proper treatment that helps. The principles of nonjudging, acceptance, living in the moment etc etc.. they are helping me throughout the day as I watch my reactions to life.. it helps me to learn about myself. And when I am well enough to regularly engage in the formal daily meditation practice I am definitely feeling a change in the way I approach life. There isn't anything else that is helping me at the moment so this is great.
Apart from mindfulness, which gives me a little inner strength, I am only getting through life with gritted teeth, sheer determination, and leaning on other people when I feel like I am losing it. So I am very grateful to people who have made mindfulness practice available in a way that I can understand.
Til and Isap, I think the breathing exercises you mentioned can be really great an effective tools for meditation in general, yoga, anxiety reducing etc.
But I did just want to say that Mindful meditation is a particular kind of meditation where you don't try to control or change you breath in any way. It often changes by itself and you are the observer of this. If you are controlling your breath it may have benefits.. but it becomes a different kind of meditation from mindfulness.
W taught me to use a count of three when I breathed in and a count of four when I breathed out to help lower anxiety. I have been using it for three years now and it really really helps in those difficult moments. But this is not mindfulness. Mindfulness would be noticing that your breath is shallow and quick, noticing that anxiety emotions were affecting your body, accepting that this was happening, not judging yourself, just bringing your focus gently back from worrying thoughts to the breath itself, whether it was fast or slow, just being with yourself as you are.
It is also quite important therefore to know what is best to do in different situations. And everyone will have a different answer for that, depending on many things including what kind of mental health problems we have.
For me the mindfulness acceptance approach is the best for training myself to be more healthy in general. And for that I use mostly formal meditation and there are also moments through the day when I focus on my breath for a short while to remind myself to be where I am. But there are also times when I feel that I am not stable enough to sit with particularly difficult emotions, and then I will perhaps use a calming breathing exercise instead. But I think it is important to know the difference and be conscious in the choices we make in those moments. This way we can look after ourselves well.
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:33 pm
After a long interruption due to the diagnostic process making me too emotionally aroused to dare to try it.. I found myself in good company and a wonderfully safe place for two nights and I started to practise again. 10m yesterday and 20m today. I hope I can manage it again tomorrow morning now that I am back in my place again. I feel so much more uncertain of myself here. But I want to be brave and still with myself because it is good for me to learn to trust in myself and not just to feel okay when I lean on others. But I am very emotional at the moment so I am a bit scared to try. It can be hard to sit with what really is and just try to accept what comes.
Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:33 pm
I haven't done any practice for a while and was starting to see my thoughts taking over, I've been having problems going to sleep then waking up early.
I thought of this thread so just did a 5 minute practice from the site http://www.freemindfulness.org/download
(which has been highlighted on this forum, another thread i think?).
I enjoyed it - seemed to centre me - will see if i get to sleep more easily this evening
Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:43 am
After realising I was slipping down the anxiety spiral I am returning to Mindfulness.
I forgot how incredibly relaxing it is to listen to live orchestral music, close my eyes, and make the music the focus of my meditation.
Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:34 pm
I began my mindfulness course last week. I've also started using the headspace app. I'm on my 2nd session of ten days and have founf yesterday and today to be excellent. Much better than I expected.
My mindful activity I find quite hard but I'm hoping it gets easier.
I hadn't thought of music as a mindful acti ity. I think ill try that.
Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:05 pm
How exactly do you make listening to music mindful? If someone could explain in more detail it would really help
Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:22 pm
I think you can make a focus on any one of your senses a mindfulness exercise. If you pay attention in the moment to the sensual experience that you are having. You could use your breath alongside the music in order to anchor yourself in the present moment. Or use the music and the experience of the sound in your ears and perception as the anchor itself.
I think this would actually be harder for a beginner in mindfulness than a simple focus on breath because music is highly complex and could easily lead you away from the present moment into fantasy or a chill out experience that would have a great deal of value for many of us here, but that you couldn't actually call mindfulness meditation.
My view is that every part of life is experienced through the senses, so by paying attention to external and internal stimuli in the moment you can potentially go through your entire day as a kind of mindfulness meditation. Sometimes I find myself being able to do this at certain points in my day. But it is a kind of attention that is best learnt first in a simple way, otherwise it is not so easy to do, in my experience at least.
I find that formal periods of mindfulness using a simple focus on breath are the best way to learn this kind of attention, which you then become more and more adept at applying in other moments of the day.
Having said that, when I first tried to sit to meditate, I also used music because my own thoughts and emotions were far too disturbing to allow me to feel safe with myself. The music gave a focus other than myself so that I could be calm enough to pay attention to my breath. Once I learned that I could do this I stopped using the music because for me it was a distraction, actually a sort of avoidance of the difficult emotional experience. I think the goal of mindfulness meditation is not to chill out, but to pay attention to whatever your experience is without judging it. So sometimes my meditation doesn't feel nice or relaxing, sometimes it does, but it is what it is and that is the point. When those difficult emotions arise I try to observe without pushing them away or hanging onto them and in this way I can also let them go because with the next breath comes the next moment and something new to observe. Somehow working at the non avoidance, the non judging, the acceptance, the letting go .. all that good mindful stuff, somehow it gives me the inner strength to find peace and patience at other points in my day. Not necessarily in the meditation itself, that is more a sort of training time, and it can be tough. Now I don't think I could do this kind of work on myself with music playing. But it helped me to sit still to begin with.
In other words, mindfulness does bring calm into your life by giving you skills to accept yourself and your experience without being swept away in the storm of everything, but that calmness doesn't magically appear in every mindfulness meditation you try and if you are expecting it to be an instant result like that they it will be disappointing and frustrating to try. Most of the guides I have read suggest doing it everyday for 40 days, or eight weeks, or similar, before you really start to experience how it can be good for you to have the skill of paying attention like this.
Do we need another thread for meditation types that aren't strictly mindfulness that help in other ways? I have a friend who listens to those vibrations and things like that. There do seem to be endless ways to meditate that aren't mindfulness. Where you do get instant benefits like relaxing or sleep or whatever. I personally am focused on mindfulness, whether any particular meditation session relaxes me or not, because that is the particular tool that is helping me. So I started this thread to share tips. But it is not the only thing that might help people using this website. I don't think I am the one to start another thread because it is not where I am at right now. But if someone else reads this and thinks it would be a good idea then maybe they would start it?
By the way ATTMP I am not implying that what you are doing is not mindfulness, just that it got me thinking and all this burbled out.. for me it would be hard to use music and remain mindful, but that is just personal experience.
There are a lot of ideas out there at the moment that use mindfulness as a term because it is kind of a popular word so I feel like I want to use this thread to clarify for anyone reading who is new to the idea. Especially because I see a lot of meditation videos on YouTube using this or that music or sound or vibration or whatever and a lot of it is actually to achieve a particular state of relaxation or whatever and not actually about staying in the moment as you find it. And, I guess I think it is important that people understand the distinction between the different sorts of meditation. Because if someone is planning to use a tool like meditation in a specific way to improve their mental health then it is good to know which tool does which job.
Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:14 am
I am not a musician or an aficionado so, if I avoid looking at the programme, orchestral music has no meanings associated with it, no memories being evoked or thoughts being provoked. Simply a series of sounds to focus on, like focusing on the breath. The sounds are complex and rich enough to maintain my focus and allow arising thoughts to pass on by. That is not to say it is a neutral experience. I often find beauty and pleasure in the arrangement of sounds but that arises purely from the observing self not the thinking self.
The music doesn't have to be relaxing, it can be quite jarring and still have the desired effect. It was suggested as a mindful activity by Breathworks. Occasionally see saffron robed Buddist monks at these concerts too.