Mindful meditation, first being practiced by ancient Buddhists, took its modern form in the 1970’s when Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This has further developed into a complimentary practice to modern medicine used to calm the mind and even go as far as provide pain relief.
Whilst there are immediate benefits to practicing mindfulness such as better attention, reduced stress levels and positive changes in blood pressure, the long term benefits of extended practice can lead to an enhanced quality of life. These benefits include changes such as better problem solving skills, better memory forming and a reduction in sensitivity over time to stress.
But how can one travel more mindfully?
For those who experience stress even before they’ve taken off, practices such as body scan meditations or even something as simple as colouring in has been shown to reduce stress and can be done at anytime, anywhere in as little as 3-5 minutes. Great for those who get nervous during the inevitable turbulence.
It is easy to get distracted by technology and thoughts of responsibilities whilst travelling. This guide developed by Swissotel encourages you to be more aware of your surroundings by avoiding your headphones and listen to natural sounds which has been proven to decrease stress levels. Also, although it is easy to overlook, eat more mindfully by slowing down and taking note of the textures, smells and tastes of every bite.
It’s very easy to get despondent when returning home after a holiday but by engaging in movement meditations such as yoga or t’ai chi or simply engaging in a simple body scan meditation, his can lead to the release of endorphins and make changes to breathing patterns which can result in a lighter, happier mood.