How to Regain Control of Your Life with Mindfulness Meditation
By Trevor McDonald
Have you experienced trauma in your life? What about hurt? Have you ever been deeply afraid of something? Every person on this earth can probably answer yes to at least one of these questions. With love and happiness comes adversity. Life is all about balance. But when you think about your greatest hurts, you probably don’t have to dig very deep. We tend to keep them right at the surface for easy access.
People hold on to hurt for so many reasons, but mostly because they think reminders will help keep it from happening again. If we remember that someone hurt us, we’ll also remember to keep them at arm’s length. Or if someone cheated in a past relationship, we may hold tight to each memory, so we can spot the signs in future relationships.
The Cost of Carrying Negativity
It’s easy to rationalize negative emotions. But when you’re holding on to past hurts, you’re only damaging your own future. Think about how you feel whenever you access those memories. You may even experience physical symptoms of stress, like a rapid heart rate or an upset stomach.
Letting go of these thoughts and feelings is the best gift you can give yourself. Mindfulness can help you find freedom.
How Mindfulness Can Help Overcome Negative Feelings
Mindfulness is a mental state that you can only achieve when you’re living fully in the present moment. This is so much easier said than done, but it’s worth the practice. Through mindfulness meditation, you can train your mind to become more present. This means you’ll spend less time dwelling on hurts of the past or worrying about what the future holds.
In the present moment, you’re only concerned with what’s around you. And as long as you don’t have an imminent threat to your body or mind, you can achieve peace.
Think about how much time you spend worrying about the past or future. You may be sitting comfortably on your couch, but your mind and body are in a state of panic. In this situation, you may blame someone who hurt you, but this moment is not their fault. They are certainly to blame for the initial hurt, but now you are responsible for letting it hurt you again and again.
If you can recognize that you are the one who is in control, you can start improving your life right now.
How to Use Mindfulness to Regain Control
Many people avoid mindfulness meditation because of common misconceptions. Some people think it is purely a religious practice, but this isn’t true. It’s true that Buddhists and Hindus practice meditation, but not everyone who meditates does so for religious purposes. Other people avoid meditation because they think it’s difficult. And while it is difficult to master, it is relatively easy to practice.
You don’t need expensive equipment, or an educational course. All you really need is the desire and a quiet space.
Start by sitting in a quiet room and focusing on your breaths. Do not attempt to control them. Simply notice how it feels as air passes in and out of your nostrils. Now, start to count your breaths. When you get to 10, start over. This will help keep you from worrying about keeping track of a large number.
If thoughts enter your mind, gently shift your focus back to your breath. Don’t beat yourself up over wandering thoughts. It happens to everyone. Simply redirect.
You can start with a 5-minute meditation, and increase by 5-minute increments until you reach 30-minutes daily. With practice, this will become easier.
Mindfulness meditation can help you spend more time in the present moment, and that’s really the only moment that matters. The past cannot be changed; so dwelling in it will only bring you unnecessary pain.
About the Author
Trevor McDonald is part of the content marketing team for Detox Local, and a recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts, or outside enjoying just about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
Need help learning mindfulness meditation? Check out Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner peace (paperback).
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