A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about why I started meditating and the applications I found to use on my mobile phone to help me learn how to meditate.This post is different in that it will discuss more about what I've learnt now that I've been meditating for a while. I first started meditating because of anxiety over something that happened with my physical body, I've continued meditating because of the benefits I've found from doing it on a daily basis!Meditating daily has been teaching me to become more mindful.What exactly is mindfulness?Simply put, it's a mental state in which you focus on the present moment and your current feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.Meditation, in my opinion, is a tool that helps you pause during your day to take time to be mindful. It teaches you techniques and gives you tools to practice mindfulness. Too often we get so busy in our lives that we forget to take the time to check in with our mental health and make sure everything is still okay.Have you ever drove somewhere, arrived and then realized you don't remember the drive at all?Have you ever flown off the handle at someone because of something they did only to later realize they really didn't deserve that response but maybe you have been stressed out a lot lately?Maybe you've been dealing with panic attacks or depression and can't seem to shake it?This type of stuff happens all the time to us! We get so use to going through the motions that we don't even realize we are dealing with thoughts or feelings that could be affecting us negatively. So instead of dealing with these thoughts or feelings they build up inside us causing anxiety, anger and possibly even depression.Not only can unresolved thoughts or feelings cause negative emotions, but they can lead to physical sickness in our body. They can cause a weaker immune system, insomnia, lack of eating or eating too much, forgetfulness and the list goes on!Is meditation the only way to be mindful? Absolutely not! Again, mindfulness is simply being mindful of how you feel, how your body feels, and the thoughts that you are experiencing. Nothing more, nothing less. Maybe you do this through prayer, maybe you like to lay in a hammock on a sunny day for a little while and just think. However you choose to be mindful I believe the important thing is that it becomes a habit.Should you do it everyday? I believe you should take 10 - 15 mins everyday out of your schedule to practice mindfulness. However, maybe you choose to do it three times a week because your schedule is so hectic. I think the important thing is that on a regular basis you are checking in with your mind and body!By allowing meditation and mindfulness to become a daily part of my life I've noticed my issues with insomnia has disappeared and I'm able to fall asleep much quicker at night as well as stay in a deeper sleep cycle throughout the night. I've also noticed I'm more calm and don't get upset as easily at situations or people instead going more with the flow and just accepting things as they are that I can't change which has helped me focus myself better on things I actually can change. I've noticed increased memory and a lack of "mental fog."The biggest thing I think I've noticed is that I'm starting to learn who I am on a deeper level. That sounds weird to say, but when you practice mindfulness you really learn a lot about yourself as a person. Why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, feel the way you feel, etc. This allows you to change for the better, ask for help where you need it and focus attention on the areas you excel in!I leave you with this quote by Sri Chinmoy.

Paradise is not a place; it's a state of consciousness.