Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word known as a mantra. To meditate means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment and is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction
Health Benefits of Meditation
Considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine, meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits your emotional well-being, your overall health and even improve certain medical conditions. A growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation as cited by the Mayo Clinic which can include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Binge eating
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep problems
- Substance abuse
Along with the emotional benefits of meditation which can include:
- Stressful Reduction
- Building new skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Reducing negative emotions
Getting Started- 5 Easy Steps
- Designate a specific room in your home to meditate that is not a high traffic area with distractions- it should be quiet, private and comfortable. Light a candle or add other spiritual items in the room to help you feel at ease if needed. Make sure you will not be disturbed.
- Find a comfortable position for your body as well as temperature. There is no correct position for your body although many practices encourage you to be seated with your feet on the ground because it’s easy to fall asleep if you are lying down. Start with a position that is best for you.
- Start with the breath. Breathing deeply slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin the practice. Focus on the flow of your breath as you slowly inhale and slowly exhale. Do this several times until the rate of your breath has slowed and deepened.
- Notice your body. Once the mind quiets, put your attention on your body and the sensations you feel. Use imagery such as white light or color and start with focusing on the feet to relax them and then slowly work your way up to your head making sure to breathe into any tension your body is holding and release it.
- Set a relaxing sounding timer– start with 5 minute increments. Avoid timers or alarms that are loud, aggressive or startling in nature to you emotionally. Choose a timer with a soft, relaxing sound to help bring you back into the room after your meditation.
Meditation is the word or term used to include many different types of practices that simply get you to a relaxed state of being. There are many types of techniques so there is no one “right” way to do it- experiment to find the easiest way for you to relax and clear you mind on a regular basis. Guided meditations using audio, Qi gong, Tai Chi and even yoga can be used or incorporated into meditation.