According to the creators of Stop, Breath and Think
“Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to what is happening right now, by observing what’s going on inside (your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations) and outside (your interactions and surroundings) with an open mind and without judging.
Mindfulness helps us stay focused and present when we practice the two kinds of meditation: Active Thinking and Resting Mind.”
Active Mind Meditation is a guided meditation that actively trains your brain to think or emote in a particular way. For example, you can listen to the “Learning Meditation” above to prepare your mind to more effectively absorb everything you need to study. Other guided meditations might include progressive relaxation, letting go of worries, or being grateful.
Resting Mind Meditation is what most of us typically imagine when we think of meditation. It is a very deliberate channeling of our awareness, usually focusing on the breath; in movement oriented resting mind meditation such as yoga, the focus is on the breath and holding a pose. This type of meditation is very useful in training our brain to let go of certain emotions, thoughts, or worries and move away from the judgements we associate with these things.
For example, when you’re lying in bed at night hashing and rehashing that comment you made in class today, you might be feeling angry and stupid and can’t fall asleep. This type of meditation can help you observe your earlier actions and actually let go, focusing on the present and channeling your energy in useful, productive avenues like sleep.
Many of the body’s functions work automatically, like breathing, blood pressure and digestion. These functions are controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is divided into two branches: the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) - the “fight or flight” response during stress, intense activity, and emergencies, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) - the “rest and digest”, or calming response.