We introduced meditation in the previous section, and in this next part we will outline four exercises that involve both mindfulness and meditation. These can help greatly reduce feelings of anxiety and stress on your pre-med journey.
The Body Scan: This exercise uses the mind-body connection in order to train attention and awareness. It involves focusing on each individual part of the body until the entire body has been “scanned”. By placing our attention on our body parts, we are in turn releasing any worries or thoughts we may have that are not relevant to the current moment. In addition, this exercise allows us to improve our ability to focus and to not be controlled by negative feelings or emotions that arise. Separating ourselves from our feelings or things that may be bothering us is important to the practice of mindfulness. This exercise can help us to focus on the present and thereby cultivate feelings of calm and relaxation.
Basic Sitting Practice: Unlike the body scan, in which a focus is placed on individual parts of the body, the basic sitting practice simply involves focusing on the breath. Placing attention on your breathing while taking controlled, deep breaths helps to eliminate all distractions and shift your mind to a more grounded, present, and relaxed state.
Everyday Activities: Oftentimes in our daily life we are not present and go about tasks mindlessly. This exercise involves choosing one daily activity to perform in a more mindful way. This activity could be something like eating chocolate. Instead of eating it mindlessly, we could focus on things like its texture, its taste, and how it feels as it melts in our mouth. Consistently practicing this exercise for about a week should improve your ability to be more mindful in your daily activities.
Positive Experiences: This exercise is very simple but can greatly improve your mental and emotional state. Reflecting on past events that have been positive for you or have brought you pleasure can boost your mood and can motivate you to pursue your future goals.
Trichas, Mariam. (2017). Find Your Happy Place: A Guide to Mindfulness and Fulfillment. iUniverse.
Written By: Mariam Trichas
Edited By: Dhwani Bharvad