Meditation refers to the purposeful self-regulation of an individuals attention as a relaxation technique of body and mind. The practice of meditation is found in the Asian culture which is pervaded with spiritual practices. Later, the Western cultures adopted and popularised the diverse meditative practices. The proliferation of these practices prompted the research and subsequent incorporation of meditation into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Moreover, this is based on the notions for interventions that are related to exercise and mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) which address the needs for both physical and mental illness (Barlow, 2007). MBIs have been integrated into contemporary psychotherapy as they present evidence-based alterations of psychological and physical changes. Such changes are characterized observed as increased cerebral blood flow; oxygen consumption; reductions in metabolic activity; decreased depression and anxiety symptomologies; regulation in heart and respiratory rates. Despite the fact that there exists numerous styles of meditations such as Chakra yoga and Rinzai Zen, the most commonly used form is mindfulness meditation (MM) which is the subject of discussion for this paper. The MM model denotes the use of the concentrative form of meditation where participants are restricted to focus on a particular stimulus such as mantra or a specific word (Pipe et al., 2009). This implies that when the attention of the subject wanders off, it is redirected to concentrate on the desired object of meditation without paying attention to the nature of the distraction.
Personal Reflection on Mindfulness Meditation (MM)
The fundamental concept of MM denotes the intentional arrest of an individuals attention genuinely, and such responsiveness is directed towards internal and external experiences that are evident at that moment. The stress management techniques focus on the physical states, awareness of sensation, environment, and consciousness while at the same time they reinforce the aspects of acceptance, curiosity, and openness (Liza, 2011). One of the assumptions I made was that the use of MM would culminate in ignoring distracting feelings and cognitions, but this is not the case. Instead, these seemingly disruptive factors ought to be observed and acknowledged in a non-judgemental manner as they manifest themselves. As a result, this approach enabled me to detach from the interferences for purposes of gaining awareness, a sense of compassion and the flexibility to adapt to diverse coping mechanisms. The employment of MM is by research findings which demonstrate that the characteristics as mentioned earlier are crucial in providing aid to individuals in actualizing positive health outcomes. The basic concept of MM involves the process of allowing the mind to achieve tranquillity such that its habitual patterns are suspended to create an opportunity for grander awareness (Lee et al., 2007). Another assumption was the fact that initially, I conformed to the widespread notion that the practice of meditation may be correlated to religious worship. Nonetheless, my continued participation in MM illustrated otherwise as the activities undertaken was independent of any cultural or spiritual conventions that denote the genesis of the practice. For instance, as long as I was willing to enhance my awareness at a particular moment, the observation of my breath was as much meditation as that of attending to the sensations of the body or the sounds of nature (Girdano, Dusek & Everly Jr, 2012). In essence some of the elements that are synonymous with the perception of mindfulness involve the proficiency of deliberately attending to the present moment irrespective of the content that is observing; ability to precisely recognize and label ones emotions while developing refined self-awareness.
Without a doubt, I intend to continue with the indulgence in meditation as a coping mechanism since I can respond to stress reflectively rather than using a reflexive approach which ultimately counters experiential avoidance strategies. Pragmatic avoidance techniques are focused on diminishing the intensity of undesirable internal experiences commonly perceived as maladaptive stratagems. Avoidance approaches are discouraged since they contribute to the propagation of emotional disorders. The utilization of slow and profound breathing tactics has assisted in alleviating bodily symptoms by striking a balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic responses.
In conclusion, MM leads to the definition of pathways encompassed in psychological, biological and behavioral aspects which propose how heightened mindfulness is essential in stress management (Kang, Choi & Ryu, 2009). This may be embodied by outcomes such as mitigating dysfunctional cognitive techniques; identification of primary and secondary stressors; development of adaptive coping process and the reduction of psychophysiological activation and manifestation of distress.
Barlow, D. H. (2007). Principles and practice of stress management. Guilford Press.
Girdano, D., Dusek, D. E., & Everly Jr, G. S. (2012). Controlling Stress and Tension. Pearson Higher Ed.
Kang, Y. S., Choi, S. Y., & Ryu, E. (2009). The effectiveness of a stress coping program based on mindfulness meditation on the stress, anxiety, and depression experienced by nursing students in Korea. Nurse Education Today, 29(5), 538-543.
Lee, S. H., Ahn, S. C., Lee, Y. J., Choi, T. K., Yook, K. H., & Suh, S. Y. (2007). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress management program as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy in patients with anxiety disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 62(2), 189-195.
Liza, V. (2011). Stress Management Techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Health Science Journal.
Pipe, T. B., Bortz, J. J., Dueck, A., Pendergast, D., Buchda, V., & Summers, J. (2009). Nurse leader mindfulness meditation program for stress management: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nursing Administration, 39(3), 130-137.
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