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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

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Melli O'Brien



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Attend and Befriend

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today we're going to talk about how we

can use a practice called attend and

befriend in times of fear or stress?

Now, lately, around the world,

most of us have been living with

a lot of uncertainty, and a pretty

big chunk of difficulty, too.

And for many of us, all that

uncertainty and kind of difficulty

translates to feelings of

anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.

Really what we're talking about here

is a lot of fear because stress and

anxiety are really code words for fear.

And fear is a powerful, psychological

and physiological response.

Our brains primary response

to fear is what we often

call fight or flight response.

And here's the thing, when that fight

or flight response is activated in our

brain, fear can actually take over.

It can hijack other areas of

the brain, making it really

difficult for us to be at our best.

When fear takes over, we become

emotionally reactive rather than rational.

We find it difficult to think clearly.

We often lose sight of the big

picture and problem solving for

the future becomes difficult.

So how can we self-regulate

in situations like this?

One way to bring those smart parts of

the brain back online and to soothe our

nervous system and regulate our emotions

is through this practice of attending to

and befriending our difficult emotions.

So let's give this a try together.

Now, just take a moment and think about

how fear, you might call it, stress or

anxiety have shown up in your life lately.

Just bringing that to mind.

And now just notice

where your mind has gone.

What kind of thoughts are arising?

And just noticing are these

thoughts, ones that have been

maybe coming up a lot lately.

And as these thoughts arise, just

noticing too, what emotions start to

rise up in response to those thoughts.

So just tuning into and actually

feeling those emotions for a moment.

So just noticing them attending to them.

And this is the first step to the

practice, to shift your attention out

of the thoughts and into the body,

into what you're actually feeling.

So if you could name this

feeling, what would you call it?

Is it sadness?

Is it stress?

Is it anxiety?

And just mentally now naming the emotion.

So you might be mentally saying to

yourself, Aah, I'm feeling anxiety.

Or, Ahh, I'm feeling stressed.

And the befriending part involves

the attitude to which we want

to attend to this feeling.

We want to attend to it with

compassion and kindness.

So can you bring the same attitude towards

your distress or pain that you might

bring to a loved one who was hurting?

So just attending to the feelings in

your body with a sense of kindness,

a sense of befriending it, rather

than rejecting it or pushing it away.

So when we attend and befriend like

this, we soothe our nervous system,

unhook ourselves from the fear

response and can become calm and

clear-headed in the middle of it all.

So just knowing that you can remember

this practice in times of fear or stress.

You can attend and befriend.

So as always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here with us.

I hope this practice is a great

support to you in the days to come.

And now let's settle in

for today's meditation.

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