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A Simple 7 Step Process to Mindfulness for Beginners

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mindfulness for beginners

How many of you can relate to this? You’re living in a big city. You commute to work each day to a job you dislike. As you push past other commuters on the sidewalk or nudge up against strangers on public transport, you daydream about your last trip to somewhere exotic. You imagine planning your next trip, and you imagine a well deserved pint after work with your friends.

At the office you do tasks you find tedious or pointless, so you distract yourself by tracking the price of Bitcoin online, texting your friends, or planning your next vacation. You get dragged to meeting after meeting and seem like you’ll never be free to explore your true passions which, you don’t even know what they are.

Whenever you talk with your friends and family, you’re constantly reliving the past or planning for the future. On the way home you try to ignore the blaring sirens of ambulances and police cars driving past, the cacophony of humanity around you as you stumble into the nearest pub and try to drown the boredom and frustration with a pint.

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

This scenario is well known to many of us that live and work in the modern world. We are caught up in well-built habit loops which allow us to think back into the past or ahead into the future but allow us to conveniently avoid what’s going on around us. We do this because as humans we are trying to conserve vital mental energy and processing power. Sadly, this means that few of us live in the present moment and are aware of our surroundings on a regular basis.

Mindful meditation is a practice that is fast becoming a global phenomenon. It is a type of meditation that helps individuals focus their efforts and their mental energy on the present moment. It has been argued by spiritual aspirants and medical professionals alike that mindful meditation helps reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of boredom, lack of motivation, and even attention deficit disorder.

Here is a seven-step process you can try to help you start to develop your own mindful meditation practice:

Step 1: Sit

Find a spot that will allow you to sit free from distraction for 10 to 15 minutes. This might be a park bench, a conference room, a train car, the seat on a bus, a closet, a couch, a yoga studio or in the middle of the floor of your kitchen. In the end, it doesn’t really matter where you sit, as long as you can find a place that is comfortable and will allow you to avoid distractions for between 10 to 15 minutes without being called to take care of some task or interrupted by a friend or stranger.

Step 2: Straighten up

Settle into the right posture with a straight back and feet resting on the floor or crossed underneath you. Finding a relaxed and alert posture is important when you attempt to develop a mindfulness practice, because as you enter the meditation phase of the practice you will become aware of any slight discomfort. The more balanced your posture when you start, the better off the practice will go.

Step 3: Close your eyes… or don’t

Some people prefer to close their eyes while they practice sitting meditation, while others prefer to maintain a soft gaze looking straight ahead or focusing on a single object. Both options work, but if you are just starting off it may be easier to close your eyes to avoid distraction from the outside world.

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Step 4: Focus on your breath… or anything

Again, one of the easiest ways to develop a keen awareness for the present moment is to focus on your breath. That being said, some people prefer focusing on a single object nearby, or on the sensation in a certain part of their body. To each their own. I would experiment to see what works best for you.

Step 5: Be open to distractions

The harder you try to block out all distractions from your mind, the more challenging it will be to find flow and reach that altered state of consciousness.

Step 6: Feel the burn, and let it pass

Understand that the process of mindful meditation is like going to the gym; you are training your mind and building habit loops which will benefit you in the long run. When someone is trying to get fit, they will often elect to take the stairs up to their apartment or to their office rather than take the elevator.

When your legs start to ache and you become short of breath, you don’t think “I’m climbing the stairs wrong,” instead you think “I’m out of shape, I should climb the stairs more often!”  The same goes for mindful meditation.

Mindful meditation is something that should be practised just as people practice yoga or go to the gym. You are working out your mind, so you should treat the practice like a workout. You will get better with time, but it will be hard work.

Step 7: Look for little wins

It is expected that you will become distracted many times over the course of a mindful meditation practice, it’s completely natural. Rather than being disheartened by this, try to become aware of the moments in which you become distracted. Once you become aware that this distraction is present, consider celebrating your ability to recognize it as what it is, a distraction, before returning to your breath.

While this seven-step process doesn’t provide much detail into the actual practice of mindful meditation, there are plenty of programs available online that provide free mindful meditation courses and lessons for you to try.

Do you practice meditation? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

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The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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