“What motivated you to book an appointment?” I asked on our first visit.
She said, “I am a time traveller.”
It is not everyday I hear that, so I raised my eyebrows expectantly and waited for her to go on.
“I spend about half of my day living in the future, worrying. I spend the other half in the past, feeling guilty,” she continued, “Really, I just want to deal with the effects of stress all this time travel is creating.”
I smiled because it is easy to relate. We started our sessions learning how to reconnect to the present moment through mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is a simple practice that has mountains of research behind it. It works. Simply put, is an effective way to stop time traveling and to reclaim the present moment, reducing the effects of stress.
When my youngest son was about three months old, I found him in his crib looking at his hand. Looking is too weak a word. Absorbed. Riveted.
I think in that very moment he realized he had a hand and he was amazed. He watched his hand for almost thirty minutes, slowly turning it to the right and to the left. It was like he was memorizing every detail, every line, straining to take it all in.
That was the best lesson in mindful meditation I have ever seen. This intense focus represents the beginner’s mind: the ability to see something through new eyes. He was fully absorbed in the present moment and this is the foundation of mindfulness meditation.
The nice thing about learning to focus on the present moment with mindfulness meditation is that you don’t have to go to a mountain retreat, close your eyes, sit in the lotus position or chant. You can literally practice wherever you are, reducing the effects of stress. You can do mindfulness meditation regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs. And it is so easy my three month old baby did it.
[Warning One Paragraph of “Nerd” Reading Ahead] But practiced on a regular basis, it can literally reshape your brain and its chemistry as demonstrated in mountains of recent research, such as a study from Massachusetts General Hospital, published in The Journal of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. THIS STUDY shows that mindfulness meditation increases brain signaling connections (axonal density) and an increase in protective tissue around the axons (myelin) in the anterior cingulate (a part of the brain linked to self regulation).
[Nerd Alert End] More importantly, the study found meditators had improvement in mood, memory, empathy and the effects of stress.
If you would like to learn a basic technique for mindfulness meditation, fill out the contact form below and ask me for a free ten minute recording that will walk you through a simple body scan technique. You can also subscribe to our mailing list to learn an alternate technique for reducing the effects of stress, (We have a strict no spamming rule) and receive a 20 minute free guided meditation MP3 recording.
Hypnosis Expert William Wood teaches mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques to help people in Utah beat the effects of stress and worry habits. He works with clients in his Ogden, Utah, office. He also works with clients all over the country via the telephone and Skype. You can contact our office 801-203-3405.