Beth Schwinn, DCoE Public Affairs on March 18, 2015
Army Col. Michael Brumage leads a mindfulness meditation session at Camp Zama in Zama, Japan. (U.S. Army photo by Jana York, Public Health Command Region Pacific)
This is the second article in a series on the practice of mindfulness. The series focuses on programs and therapies proven to help improve psychological health and overall well-being.
Mindfulness meditation is a popular form of meditation that helps treat various psychological health concerns – and it has clinical evidence to show that it works. Although there are many programs led by certified instructors to teach you mindfulness meditation, you can also try the practice on your own.
Follow these simple instructions for mindfulness meditation:
- Choose a time of day when you are the most awake and alert. Sit upright on the floor or a chair, keeping the spine straight and maintaining a relaxed but erect posture so you do not get drowsy. Depending on your comfort, you can keep your eyes open or closed during this practice.
- Now focus on your breathing, on the sensations it triggers throughout your body. Notice how your abdomen moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
- Pay attention to the feelings in the tip of your nose, noticing the different sensations that arise with each breath.
- When you notice that you have been distracted by unrelated thoughts or feelings that have arisen, simply return your focus to your breathing.
- Try this for five to 10 minutes at a sitting, once or twice a day. As you feel more comfortable, you can increase the length of your practice sessions.
Read the DCoE Blog post on mindfulness meditation to learn more about the practice. The Waisman Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison offers additional resources on mindfulness, to include resources for service members and veterans.
Instructions from “The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live--and How You Can Change Them,” by Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., and Sharon Begley, are reprinted with permission.