Benefits Of Meditation – Mindfulness in Human Factors Training for the Clinical Enviroment

Benefits Of Meditation – Mindfulness in Human Factors Training for the Clinical Enviroment


Meditations is essentially just focused
attention. The focus can be on anything. if you put your sole focus on an object,
whatever it might be, that is a meditation. it’s described as a millennia
old practice but some cave drawings suggest that even cavemen probably
meditated on the flame.That’s probably the earliest description of meditation. Mindfulness is attention on the present moment. It has been popularized by Buddhism but
probably existed prior to the Buddha describing it. And, I think the two
work hand in hand. Meditation is focused attention and if
you give that attention to the perceptions of the world, the sights that
you see, the sounds that hear the smells, the tastes –
that’s mindfulness.Where you put your attention on the sensations of the body,
that’s a slightly different practice, that’s the body awareness or a body scan
meditation which is useful for the pain management, anxiety, sleep if you put your
attention on a mental image and focus your attention on a mental image that is
itself a meditation. If you put your attention on your thoughts and mental
processes that is probably closer to self-inquiry. So you can put your focus
on any of these aspects of the human experience, and outside of perceptions of
the world, the sensations that we have of our body, our thoughts and mental
images and emotions there’s nothing else. And all of these can be the object of
focus in mindfulness. As I mentioned meditation is more focused mindful
mindfulness, and I think if you want to progress early and actually start
reaping the benefits of a mindful lifestyle, and a lot of meditation
teachers would agree – you need to have a sitting practice as well.
So what mindfulness isn’t it’s not a religious practice, but you find that
there’s meditative traditions in all religious…all major religions.
In Hinduism – Yoga which is another name for meditation in India. Buddhism:
meditation is the sole focus. In Islam, you have Sufism which is them the
meditative sect within Islam. Christian contemplative traditions are extremely
similar to the other meditative traditions. So you see more similarities
across the world with meditation and contemplation. They’re given different
names and it means different things but if you read into it’s actually exactly
the same. Meditation, a lot of…even colleagues think it’s the same as
inducing a trance and it isn’t, in that you you have your awareness. And again,
the mind will probably tell you when you first start, that meditation is a boring
practice, but that is mind, that is thought, that is something that you’re
trying to tame. So you have to you have to appreciate that you will get thoughts
like “This is boring”, “Why am I doing this?”, but this is this is a resistance to
something that hasn’t been explored before. Some people also think that it’s
time-consuming – it isn’t. It can be any length of time and in fact what I would
say to everyone is start off with a short time period – 5 minutes, so you’re
not discouraged and build up slowly. in fact it if you want to start
making a difference straight away, it doesn’t even need to be 5 minutes you’ll
find that a lot of smartphones and watches have breathing timers which will
give you an alert every hour and ask you to take five conscious breaths. Now
everyone breathes but not everyone breathes consciously. And breathing
consciously means being aware of all aspects of your
breathing and it doesn’t take long to take five conscious breaths. And if you do
that every hour in the day you will perceive a sense of peace because what
we don’t realize is that we have a constant stream of thoughts from the first point of waking to usually the time that we get to sleep. We
don’t recognize it, but this constant underlying stream of thoughts actually
dictates a lot of our other thoughts and activities and actions and relationships
with other people. And when you start becoming mindful and becoming aware
thoughts and meditating, actually watching your thoughts, you see that a
lot of these thoughts are unconnected, they’re incoherent, they’re completely
random, but your mind latches on to one of these thoughts and your intellect
creates a story out of it. There are numerous benefits. There are
3500 peer-reviewed publications on the benefits of
meditation. A lot of people use it for things like hypertension, improve
improves sleep. This is such a common complaint and I think that it’s as a
result of the lifestyles that we lead. And smartphones, and using smartphones
and that thinking process continuing right until we actually go to bed, and
obviously that thinking process has momentum behind it, and it’s actually
that that causes problems with sleep. There’s psychological benefits which
I’ve talked about before; resilience, focus, the main aspect of it, and it
helps you develop tolerance and there’s even scientific publications to show it
helps you become more compassionate. I didn’t go into…I didn’t start
undertaking meditation for any spiritual benefits, but without a doubt, there are,
for those that are interested. So this is this is the slide with the typo that I
did want to change but I hope that the point gets across. So where we are right now is the
present moment but what happens and what happens pretty much all the waking state
for the vast majority of us, is thoughts either take us to the past, or takes to
the future. And if it takes us to the past they’re either going to be
negative thoughts which mind is going to try and avoid, and in that process of
trying to avoid it perpetuates the problem by reinforcing that particular
thought. Or it’s going to be a pleasant or positive thought and mind’s going to
try and cling on to that but what is the point of being there in the past? what is
the point of clinging onto a positive thought or trying to avoid a negative one? it
just takes away from the peace of the present moment. Equally, with
the future, our thoughts often, and this is very common especially when you’re on-call, take us to the future either anxieties about things that may occur in
the future or anticipation about something that you’re actually looking
forward to. And again, that takes you away from being in the present moment. And
you’ll find that these things actually elongate time. You might want the day to
go quicker but if you’re thinking all the time about what you’re going to do
once your shift is finished, the day is gonna feel longer.
So meditation and mindfulness helps you go back to the present moment and I
assure you the present moment is always peaceful. So I’ve mentioned the duration
of practice I’d start with five minutes and build up if you can
over a week to about ten minutes but certainly don’t force yourself. If it
feels like too much or you’re feeling too much resistance in building up then
just take it slowly. You will know when it’s the right time. I’m aim for about 20
minutes by after around six weeks and for the vast majority of working adults
twenty minutes meditation a day is more than sufficient and that’s agreed upon
by a lot of meditation teachers. So when and where? You should try and pick the
same location. Not everyone has access to nature but if you can is wonderful
meditating around nature. Most people use a meditation cushion. Some people,
with especially with back problems may find benefit with meditation chairs.
There’s some really good meditation chairs. Some people prefer to kneel and
they’ve got special meditation stools that you can get. All these things are
available on Amazon I would certainly recommend..I use, I use a mat I recommend
if you’re starting out, to get a cushion. The time of meditation varies really.
There’s benefits to doing in the morning and in the evening. Now a lot of
people do want to practice meditation and mindfulness to help with I sleep, and from that perspective doing in the evening makes sense, but if you want to
prepare yourself for the day ahead and for all the challenges you may face,
there’s nothing better than meditating first thing in the morning after you
wake up. I actually do it twice because I’m greedy like that!
I do try and avoid meditating after because the focus does
reduce somewhat after I eat and an sit to meditate, although you can be mindful and
again going back to mindfulness the perception of taste is the focus of
mindfully eating and I have a couple of friends who who specialized in mindful
eating through dark chocolate which is it’s got the various notes that you
appreciate with mindful eating. So these are the basics of practice and I’ll just do a
short – guided meditation later but essentially I always start, and most
practices start with a few cleansing breaths. I close my eyes but you can
equally meditate you with your eyes open. I look on the awareness of the world,
body and mind and I’ll explain I’ll go through how I do this. And then I
incorporate a short body scan meditation just for progressive…that offers
progressive relaxation. And then the real focus of the meditation is the conscious
breathing and when I say conscious breathing, just be aware of the
sensations in your nose in your throat, in your chest, in your abdomen, the
movement of your chest…in your abdomen see how every breath, one breath is
always different to the next breath and just see the variety of it and if you
find yourself getting lost in thought then the breathing is the anchor
that you go back to. And breathing’s an excellent anchor to use because
it’s always available. and then you have to gently ease your way out of the meditation. So when you first start meditating you
might set your timer for five minutes, sit down, and before you know it, the timer
bell’s gone and you think what’s happened to the meditation. You’ve been lost in
thought that the whole time. But then the next time you practice it, you
recognize that you are lost in thought and you tell yourself ‘go back to the
anchor’. It’s actually…this is what we’re looking for. We’re looking for getting
lost in thought. That’s a good mark of progress, and actually that recognition
that you’re lost in thought is what thought to be behind the MRI changes
that are seen in brain density which can occur after six weeks of a regular
meditation practice. It’s the recognition, the awareness of being lost in thought
and going back to the anchor, so I’ve reinforced that. That recognition of
being lost in thought is the key and you’ll find that initially you’ll have long periods where you’re lost in thought, then you’ll have
a few shorter periods and then you’ll find that you were able to meditate for
the full twenty minutes maybe getting lost in thought. Thoughts arise then
they will continue to arise but the important thing is to put your attention
on whatever anchor you choose. As I said the breath is the commonest anchor. You
can choose the visualization>You can use meditation beads if that’s your
preference. initially when you start meditating, you may or may not perceive some benefit
from it. What I would say is, it is so worth persisting and they say if you
practice anything for three weeks it becomes a habit and I don’t think
there’s any better habit to get into. I personally would rather go without my
morning shower than go without my morning meditation. The one thing
that reinforces, and this is something my colleague said to me is one thing that
reinforces your belief of the benefits of meditation is shortly after you start
a daily practice you will have people commenting on the changes that they see
within you because well positive reinforcement just spurs you on if
you are able to do this. I don’t think this is something that should be dipped
in and out. I used to but I actually found that all the massive
benefits have been since I started the daily practice.

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