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What is Mindfulness Meditation?


In the ever-accelerating whirlwind of modern life, where digital distractions are just a swipe away, finding moments of quiet tranquility can feel like an insurmountable task. This is where the art of mindfulness meditation comes into play, offering us a much-needed sanctuary for peace and self-awareness.

Often misconstrued as a complex, mystic practice, mindfulness meditation is, in fact, a straightforward process with profound implications for our mental well-being. We delve into the heart of mindfulness meditation to understand what mindfulness meditation truly is and how it can guide us towards a more serene and meaningful existence.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves focusing your mind on your experiences in the present moment. It encourages attentiveness to your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and the environment around you, without judgment or reaction.

At its core, mindfulness meditation isn't about changing or quieting your mind, but about understanding and accepting it as it is. This simple yet profound shift in perspective can significantly impact our mental and emotional wellbeing.

The roots of mindfulness meditation trace back to ancient Buddhist meditation practices, particularly Vipassana, which translates to "seeing things as they really are". Today, it transcends religious boundaries and is practiced worldwide for its numerous scientifically backed benefits.

How Does Mindfulness Work?

Mindfulness works by nurturing a heightened state of awareness. By paying conscious attention to our thoughts, emotions, sensations, and surroundings, we can detach from habitual, often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday experiences.

Our mind is often cluttered with thoughts about the past and the future, leading to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Mindfulness steers our mind away from this constant noise and back to the present moment, creating a sense of calm and peace.

Neuroscientifically speaking, mindfulness affects our brain’s structure and function. Regular mindfulness practice can change the neural pathways and increase the density of gray matter in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. One key area affected is the prefrontal cortex, responsible for executive functions like focus, decision-making, and self-regulation.

Ways to Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Here's a simple example of how to practice mindfulness meditation:

1/ Find a quiet and comfortable place: Choose a location where you won't be disturbed. You can sit on a chair, cushion, or even the floor—just make sure your posture is upright and comfortable.

2/ Set a timer: Especially for beginners, it's helpful to decide in advance how long you'll meditate. You might start with five minutes a day and gradually increase the duration.

3/ Focus on your breath: Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing. Notice the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body, whether it's the feeling of air passing through your nostrils or the rise and fall of your abdomen or chest.

4/ Notice when your mind wanders: It's normal for your mind to wander. When it does, gently acknowledge it, and without judgment or frustration, bring your attention back to your breath.

5/ Expand your awareness: After a while, expand the focus of your awareness to your body, then to your thoughts and feelings. Notice any sensations, emotions, or thoughts without trying to change them.

6/ Finish your session: When your timer goes off, slowly open your eyes and take a moment to notice how your body feels and your state of mind before getting up.

Remember, mindfulness meditation is a skill, and like any other skill, it requires regular practice. It's not about "emptying the mind" but acknowledging and accepting our thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they come and go.

Our Top 5 Mindfulness Meditation Apps

Navigating the noisy chatter of everyday life can be a daunting task. In our quest to help you find calm amid the chaos, we've compiled a list of the top five mindfulness meditation apps currently available. These digital companions are designed to gently guide you towards inner peace, offering a range of exercises to enhance focus, relieve stress, and foster an overall sense of wellbeing. Whether you're a seasoned meditator or a curious beginner, these apps offer invaluable tools to assist you on your mindfulness journey.

1/ Calm: A holistic mindfulness app, Calm provides an array of guided meditations, soothing sounds, and sleep stories to foster relaxation and tranquility.

2/ Headspace: Renowned for its accessible introduction to mindfulness, Headspace offers a wide variety of meditation practices to enhance well-being, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

3/ Insight Timer: Serving as a comprehensive resource, Insight Timer boasts an extensive library of free guided meditations and music, catering to beginners and experienced practitioners alike.

4/ One Giant Mind: Pioneering a simple, yet powerful 12-step meditation program, One Giant Mind aims to tackle stress and foster clarity and peace in its users' everyday lives.

5/ Smiling Mind: Designed with a focus on youth mindfulness, Smiling Mind provides age-specific meditation programs to promote mental health in children, teens, and adults.

By embracing mindfulness meditation, you can foster a deeper understanding of yourself, increase your mental clarity, and navigate life's ups and downs with greater calm and poise. The journey of mindfulness is a rewarding one, with the potential to transform not only your understanding of your own mind but also your relationships.


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