I designed The Ancient Forest Meditation as a way to incorporate mindfulness, breathe and relaxation. Studies about mindfulness, relaxation and conscious breathing validate the importance of these practices, something Eastern medicine and philosophy have always known. In a nutshell, mindfulness is about consciously focusing on the present moment, being consciously aware of all of our senses, and letting go of any judgment about the present moment. Meditation, conscious breathing, relaxation and guided imagery are amazing tools for developing mindful practice. As you develop mindful practice, you are quite literally building new neuronal pathways in your brain – pathways that encourage peace, calm and presence. As you develop these new pathways, you will develop an entire new way of being and of responding to your environment. When focused in the present moment, it is basically impossible to worry about the future or the past – you can’t do both at the same time. And it is exactly this focus on past and/or future that typically causes stress, anxiety and depression. I don’t deny – there are times when the present moment simply isn’t ideal. But… if you pay attention, you will likely find that a large percentage of the time, the present moment is perfectly fine. As well, if you are focused on the past or future, you are completely missing the present moment. And as you learn to focus on the present, everything changes!
Studies show that taking time out to meditate utilizing guided imagery can benefit you in many ways. Some of the benefits of mindful practice include: reducing your level of stress and anxiety, reducing worry, changing behaviors associated with eating and weight loss, alleviating chronic medical condition/pain symptoms, lessening depression, possibly slowing or decreasing cognitive decline in dementia and Alzheimer’s, reducing feelings of loneliness, improving sleep, boosting resilience and helping with emotion regulation. Mindfulness meditation can also help improve your attention span, improve your ability to remain positive and develop an overall sense of peace and calm.
Mindful practice can also benefit your brain! Neuroplasticitiy is basically the ability of your brain to change over time. Positivepsychology.com states: “When we practice mindfulness, we send the message to our brain that we are more effective at dealing with everyday tasks when we are aware, observant, nonreactive, and nonjudgmental. This causes our brain to make the changes that will improve our ability to function mindfully”. For a detailed explanation of the benefits of neuroplasticity and mindfulness, check out the article “23 Amazing Health Benefits of Mindfulness for Body and Brain” at https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/
You can use my guided imaging anytime you want (except while doing basically anything else…) even while going to sleep at night. It’s exactly 30 minutes long – you can even fit it in during your lunch break! I hope you enjoy this meditation; it’s a magical and relaxing escape full of benefits for you.