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Mindfulness meditation: what is it?



One could define mindfulness meditation as " deliberately paying attention to the present moment", for example focusing on one's breathing or physical sensations. A posture that allows you to position yourself as an observer and no longer an actor, of your mental functioning: what is going on in my mind? What are the sensations that I can observe, in my body, in my mind? What are these thoughts that are passing at this present moment?

"We all have the capacity to be in the present moment, we all have the capacity to discover this space of freedom which allows us to get out of the automatic pilot: driving on the way home from work and not even remembering the turns that the we took, for example... But it's valid all the time: cooking in the evening, doing your job or even saying hello! We're not really in the present moment...".

Do not confuse meditation and relaxation

We often confuse meditation and relaxation , but it is not the same thing. In meditation, the objective is not to relax , nor to fall asleep, but to observe what is happening... For example, we will observe that we are stressed this morning, afterwards, it is up to us to remediate. Even if meditating greatly helps to drive out stress, by returning to the present moment, it is not the primary objective. We could compare this practice to a "gymnastics, a stretching of the brain " : we will train it, to be able to function like this afterwards, and enjoy the benefits in our daily lives. There is a dimension of involvement in meditation that there is not in relaxation.

Meditation is not thinking about anything!

Another received idea about meditation that comes up often: we think that meditating consists of not thinking about anything, of emptying our minds. On the contrary, in meditation, we are free to think about what we want, we let our thoughts pass (sometimes many!), we observe them, without nourishing them, and little by little, these thoughts will move away. And maybe they will even come back, and in this case, in the same way, we let them "pass like a cloud".

Why mindfulness meditation?

More than 8 out of 10 people have already tried to reduce their stress

through the practice of a soothing activity, such as meditation (for 43% of them), according to a study conducted by YouGov.

The benefits of mindfulness meditation, are multiple and have for some been scientifically proven. By training the brain, it is possible in particular to reduce stress, by learning to live better with it, to reduce anxiety , to improve sleep in the event of sleep disorders ( insomnia , for example).

This practice, accessible to all, allows you to gain serenity , but also to be more attentive, to improve concentration, because you are less dispersed, more in the present moment and less in anticipation, interpretation.

It also allows you to better connect with others, to be more compassionate, benevolent, altruistic: mindfulness meditation allows you to accept yourself, and others, without judgment, without aggressiveness.

Good to know: this practice is for everyone, at all ages. In case of severe psychological disorders, always seek the advice of a doctor.

Find a suitable place to learn to meditate

If it is possible to meditate everywhere (in transport, in the middle of a corridor, in a crowded room…), and in many different ways (while having lunch, while stretching, while walking…), to begin with, it is recommended to be in a rather calm and quiet place. Not necessarily where silence is absolute, but a place where you won't be disturbed too much.

During your session, distractions can potentially appear, and that's okay, it can even be interesting, because these are all things that you will be able to observe.

Paying attention to the sounds that we can hear around us, for example, allows us to be in the moment: you hear a radiator starting up, for example, rather than going off into a story ( "Hey, that's the neighbor who throws it, is she there today?" ), the idea is to observe this noise and then be able to come back to his breath, taking him by the hand in a way.

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