In the 21st century, life has become increasingly busy. Stress, anxiety and other mental health issues are on the rise, especially due to the changes we’ve seen in the past few years. In response, people have embraced the use of wellness practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and more.
These ancient wisdom practices that have been around for centuries, just became popular recently. This newfound interest can be attributed to the scientific research validating their efficacy and benefits on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Furthermore, more and more individuals are learning of the power these practices have in helping them lead more balanced lives.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll explore different approaches to mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, from meditation and mindfulness to yoga and beyond.
The Benefits of Wellness Practices
It’s no surprise to learn of the countless physical, mental and emotional benefits of wellness practices. Let’s list just a few to demonstrate the level of positivity generated by these activities:
• Lower stress levels
• Improved sleep
• More mental clarity
• Increased focus
• Better flexibility
• Improved physical health
• Enhanced mood
• Increased creativity
• Improved balance
• Improved relationships
• Better overall wellbeing
Many people have done their own research or have had personal experiences that can attest to the benefits of these practices. But it’s important to remember that everyone’s individual journey is unique and that some techniques may prove more effective than others in helping to achieve optimal outcomes.
Understanding the Difference between Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are often lumped together, but there is a difference between the two. Indeed, meditation has become a more widespread term, probably because it has been studied extensively, especially over the past few decades.
Meditation is a practice of sitting and focusing on slowing down the mind, allowing breathing and body awareness to take over, and having the intention of allowing for inner stillness.
On the other hand, mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings, and reactions in each moment, and allowing them to be as they are without judgment. By implementing mindfulness in everyday life, an individual can cultivate a greater sense of awareness that carries over into other activities.
Techniques, Tools, and Practices
Now that we understand the distinction between meditation and mindfulness, let’s explore some specific practices, techniques and tools that can help on your wellness journey:
• Transcendental Meditation – Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a practice of mantra-based meditation, derived from ancient Indian traditions. TM involves the repetition of a chosen mantra or belief system in order to achieve a deep state of relaxation and clarity.
• Guided Meditation – Guided meditation brings clarity, focus and peace of mind to individuals who practice it. It involves being led through a meditation by an audio voice or music, with additional coaching and support.
• Vipassana – Vipassana is an ancient Buddhist mindfulness practice, which consists of clearing away the mind’s agitation and focusing inward. It requires an individual to observe the present moment in order to understand and practice the insight that comes with it.
• Contemplative Meditation – Contemplative meditation encourages an individual to take a step back and observe their thoughts in order to gain control over them. It is a type of mindfulness practice that involves the individual to watch their thoughts come and go without judgment.
• Walking Meditation – Walking meditations involve people taking a mindful journey through nature. Focusing on their breathing and allowing the mind to witness its surroundings, walking meditation provides a person the opportunity to find internal peace and clarity.
• Metta – Metta, otherwise known as lovingkindness, is a practice based on Buddhist mindfulness and meditation. This practice helps individuals to develop compassion for others and foster relationships that are based on love and understanding.
• Hatha Yoga – Hatha yoga is an ancient practice of physical poses, breathing techniques and meditation aimed at purifying the body and mind.
• Kundalini Yoga – Kundalini yoga is a combination of yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques that help to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of human life.
• Sivananda Yoga – Sivananda yoga is a practice that combines traditional Hatha yoga poses, along with proper nutrition and relaxation, to improve both physical and mental wellbeing.
Incorporating Wellness Practices into Your Everyday Life
Wellness practices can be incorporated into every day life before bed, first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed. Here are some strategies for successfully integrating these practices:
• Set aside certain times of the day to practice. Scheduling specific times for the practices will make them more likely to become part of the routine.
• Find the practice that works best for you. Different practices appeal to different people; therefore, it’s important to explore and find a practice that fits.
• Stay consistent and don’t give up. Incorporating wellness practices into daily life usually requires a bit of effort and commitment, as it’s easy to give up or become discouraged along the way.
• Seek out support. Talking to a mental health professional or a trusted friend or family member can help keep you accountable and motivated along the journey.
• Have an open mind and enjoy the process. The goal is not perfection, but rather patience and practice. Taking it one day at a time is key to discovering great inner peace and growth.
Mental, physical and emotional wellbeing have become a matter of greater importance in our lives as life has gotten increasingly complex. In order to practice self-care and maintain personal balance, there are several ancient practices such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness and more.
The benefits of these practices are innumerable and should be taken into account for greater health and happiness. It’s important to understand the distinction between meditation and mindfulness, as well as explore the many practices associated with them such as Hatha yoga, Metta, Contemplative meditation and more.
Further, there are some strategies that can help incorporate these practices into daily life, such as scheduling times to practice and committing to the process. Adhering to these guidelines and mantras can help individuals learn, grow and achieve great harmony.