I have been traveling for much of May and nearly forgot to address meditation month! Right now, I am enjoying time visiting our family. On the days devoted to driving between destinations, I have been contemplating mindfulness and meditation. These concepts are especially important to us these days.
The Importance of Mindfulness and Meditation
We may all agree that 2020 and 2021 have been difficult and challenging. As we managed life with social isolation and unwanted restrictions associated with the pandemic, we also carried the weight of additional stress. Now, there is an explosion of information from all directions, many encouraging us to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into our lives as we ease back into life as it was “before.” Meditation can transform and heal our mind and body. It offers balance to help us cope with life stresses.
As a physician and health care educator, I have been promoting mindfulness and meditation for years. These practices are a part of one of the five components in my Power of 5 Formula. There are medical and scientific studies that support and fortify my recommendation. Even major corporations have devoted substantial resources for employees to take part in mindfulness activities. Mindfulness is important!
How Mindfulness and Meditation Make a Difference
My experience with mindfulness and meditation goes back to my college years. It was then that I learned a process to relax and relieve the anxiety I experienced before taking exams. Since college, I have used different meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques to maintain a more calm state. Previously, I thought I had to perform a mediation exercise for twenty minutes twice daily to be successful. But then I discovered finding a free twenty minutes in the middle of my day was next to impossible. Now I achieve the benefits of mindfulness exercises through brief exercises and during different times of the day in any available location.
Instruction and support programs are readily available. To find a mindfulness and meditation platform to use, search online with the keywords mindfulness or meditation. I have been using an app on my smartphone called “Headspace.” I think it is phenomenal! This program provides daily reminders and encouragement that make mindfulness easier.
In a blog last summer, I discussed the importance of reaching greater success by incorporating new habits into our daily routines. Mindfulness and meditation provide the perfect opportunity to do this. Start by carving out a few minutes once or twice a day to develop a mindfulness and meditation habit. It won’t take much time to realize the benefits!
Getting Started with Mindfulness and Meditation
Set aside three-to-five minutes every day to explore a variety of mindfulness activities.
You will want to sit in a safe, quiet place. Listen to the silence. Clear your mind. Take five slow, deep breaths. I often listen to soothing music. Any time my mind wanders beyond the moment, I gently set those thoughts aside to regain a sense of being present.
As we emerge from this past year and begin settling back into “life as we knew it” pre-pandemic, using mindfulness and meditation strategies will benefit our sense of calm and improve our mental wellbeing as everyday stresses of life arise.
In closing, our travels have been so special and meaningful to Melissa and me. It was trying not to see, hug, and experience life with our children and grandchildren in person over the last year. We are so grateful we can visit cousins and second cousins and other extended members of our families now. I even had the great fortune of spending an afternoon with my Aunt Flo. I heard all about her own secrets for longevity—she will turn 100 years old this July!
To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein MD