Five Steps to Mindfulness Meditation


Basic meditation is the practice of doing nothing and being tuned in to your own mind at the same time.

At first, it can be frustrating, but research shows meditation reduces stress and increases focus.

Mindfulness is an exercise in training the mind to notice thoughts, sensations and emotions, and not get too attached to them all. Meditation nurtures mindfulness, which can improve your attention and benefit your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Whether you have felt dissatisfied by meditation before and now are willing to give it another shot, or are simply looking for a place to begin, here are five simple steps to practice mindfulness:

1.  Sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor or in a chair. Keep your back straight and let your shoulders drop. Take a deep breath and close your eyes if you wish.

meditating body2.  Notice your breath. Don’t change your breathing, but focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your lungs.

3.  As thoughts come into your mind and distract you from your breathing, acknowledge those thoughts and then return to focusing on your breathing each time.

4.  Don’t judge yourself or try to ignore distractions. Your job is simply to notice that your mind has wandered and to bring you attention back to your breathing.

5.  Start by doing this 5 minutes a day for a week. If this seems like too much, start with less time. The more you meditate regularly, the easier it will be to keep your attention where you want it.

Adopted from Full Catastrophe Living, 2nd edition by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

About Cindy Trawinski, Psy.D., Dipl. PW

Cindy Trawinski is a licensed clinical psychologist, a Diplomate in Process-oriented Psychology (also known as Process Work) and a certified Imago Relationship Therapist. She is a founding partner of LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center and North Shore Psychotherapy Associates and has offices in Skokie, IL. Cindy is the former CEO of the Process Work Institute, in Portland, OR and a member of the International Association of Process-oriented Psychology (IAPOP), in Zurich, Switzerland. Cindy is a frequent speaker on topics including: Diversity and Multicultural Issues; Sex Positivity; Rank & Power; Therapist Bias; and Polyamory.

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