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Mindfulness Meditation - A Path To Happiness


									Mindfulness Meditation - A Path To Happiness
Meditation has been found to have a positive influence on the body, mind,
and spirit. Successful management of chronic pain, decrease in blood
pressure, and reduction in stress hormones are a few of the physiological
benefits of meditative practices. Meditation is also known to produce a
variety of psychological benefits, including reduction of anxiety,
enhanced sense of well-being, increased awareness of emotions, and a
greater sense of self-actualization. Spiritual bliss and enlightenment
are among the spiritual benefits of meditation.
Recently scientists have looked at the effect of mindfulness meditation
(one type of awareness meditation) on the brain and neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to develop and change -
essentially rewire itself - in response to training and/or experience.
Richard Davidson, PhD at the University of Wisconsin has conducted
research that indicates that meditation increases neuronal firings in the
left frontal cortex of the brain – the same area associated with positive
feelings and happiness. Studies involving very experienced meditators
(Buddhist monks) have shown that these brain changes may be long lasting.
In other words, mindfulness meditation may increase your level of
happiness and the more you practice the happier you will be.
Rather than disregarding any distracting thoughts, those practicing
mindfulness meditation simply observe their thoughts without judgment.
The goal of this form of meditation is to increase awareness in the
present moment. If you want to give this type of meditation a try, I
suggest beginning with a mindful walking practice. This simply means that
while you are walking, you keep your awareness on the experience of
walking. Stay in the present moment and be aware of what your body feels
like as you walk. Notice the sensations as you put one foot in front of
the other. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Simply keep
your awareness on your experience in the moment.
When other thoughts come into your mind (and they most definitely will
come) simply observe them and let them go – without judging them. This is
a key to mindfulness - rather than getting caught up in these thoughts or
berating yourself for having distracting thoughts, it is important to be
an impartial observer of the thoughts flowing through your mind.
Remember… observe the thoughts and let them go.
As you gain experience with this type of meditation, you will gain the
understanding that your true essence - your essential spirit - is not the
contents of your mind, but rather the observer of the contents. This
awareness will help you detach from intense emotions and allow them to
flow freely and easily. When practiced on a regular basis, mindfulness
becomes a way of life and a path toward greater happiness, peace, and
Kirsten Harrell, Psy.D. is a psychologist, consultant, life coach,
inspirational speaker, and entrepreneur. Dr. Harrell has combined her
expertise in positive psychology, energy psychology, stress management,
and mind-body therapies, to provide cutting edge services to individuals
and businesses for over 15 years. In addition, she is a leading authority
on the use of positive thinking to create health, happiness, and success.
Dr. Harrell has taught graduate level courses at the University of Dayton
and Wright State University. She is the President and co-founder of
Popular Inspirations, Ltd. and co-creator of
ipopins (the one minute affirmations).

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