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Powerful Life Lessons In Mindfulness And Meditation Beyond Stress Relief

Written by: Marissa Nicole Azucena, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Mindfulness and meditation are known to bring several benefits to its practitioners such as stress relief, better sleep, and even improved physical health. However, what about the bigger picture? Mindfulness and meditation can change not just the way we feel in this life but also the way we experience it.


Below are the three ways mindfulness and meditation changed my life and it can change yours too.

1. It helps in cultivating gratitude. Specifically in mindfulness, we are taught to slow down and live in the present moment. An example of how this works can be shown by imagining that you go out for a walk. During this walk, the entire time you are busy worrying about the bills you have to pay or a fight you got into with a family member or partner. Due to your worrying about the future or ruminating on the past, it most likely was hard to enjoy this time spent outside. Now if you took this walk with a mindful approach and released all worries and focused on living in the present moment all of sudden you may feel the sun shining on your face, notice the flowers in bloom, or hear the faint noise of running water from a nearby creek. By living in the present moment we are able to better see the beauty that is all around us even in the most mundane of moments or environments. When we see this beauty and realize how lucky we are to be alive and witness it the natural response that grows out of this is gratitude and it continues to grow stronger the more often we practice mindfulness.


2. It’s like installing the brakes into a car. When one begins to practice mindfulness and meditation, they start to learn how to lean into the pause before the reaction. This is due to the cultivation of approaching each moment with awareness. By doing this, we are able to become an active participant in our reactions. Responses no longer need to feel like they are out of our control. Instead, if we are presented with a difficult situation we are able to (like the brakes in a car) slow down and process our thoughts, emotions, and actions instead of going from 0 to 100 miles per hour.


From there we are able to ask ourselves and decide, “What is the best way to respond to this situation? This ability to lean into the pause can benefit every aspect of our lives from our relationships to our decision making and even


3. It teaches the art of observing versus judging. We judge when we form an opinion, as in "I think this about that." On the other hand, observation is the act of taking in information in a neutral way, without the formation of opinions or narratives that can possibly be based on our own personal biases.


Naturally as humans, we all learn how to judge our surroundings. This is a learned trait that can be done out of safety. However this can turn into judging other people, other people’s actions, and even ourselves. When we begin to judge too often it can impact how content we feel in life. We may begin to feel weighed down or mentally exhausted by the possible negativity judgements can bring or the exertion of having to form opinions constantly. To understand the difference between observing versus judging, you can imagine that you’re standing in front of a table that has an assortment of fruits on it. To observe the fruit would be to say “There’s an orange, a strawberry, and an apple.” To judge the fruits would be to say “That’s my favorite fruit, I hate that one, and that last one tastes weird sometimes”. When we judge, we tend to create narratives and opinions around things; when we observe we experience moments in our life from a place of neutrality. This is fostered especially through meditation. If the mind wanders, we are taught to observe the thoughts without judgement, and with kindness for ourselves bring our awareness back to the present moment. How different could your life look if you began to practice observing versus judging?


Ultimately, mindfulness and meditation have so many big life lessons to teach us and it is so much more than just a stress reliever.


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Marissa Nicole Azucena, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Marissa Azucena is a certified life coach and mindfulness and meditation teacher. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelors in Psychology, and spent most of her time during undergrad doing research around the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. She currently runs her own business, Younique Coaching. She works with individuals on a one on one basis, offers group mindfulness and meditation classes, and also founded and is currently running a mindfulness and meditation program for a school in the California Bay Area. Her goal is to help others improve their lives through stress reduction techniques, life coaching, and positive psychology.

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