Meditation is largely about calming the mind so it can focus. It trains the mind to be aware of time as it passes, so the mind is calm yet completely alert. Learning to meditate helps us to let go of thoughts from the past or the future so we can truly live in the moment. It frees us from any upsetting thoughts from past events that we cannot change and any worry about future events that may never happen. By living in the present moment, we are more involved with living each moment to the fullest.
Simple Tips to Begin a Meditation Practice
- Read a book or buy a CD on Meditation. A book may help you understand the practice of meditation. An instructional CD can guide you through your own practice.
- Set aside time and a special place for your practice. Just as you would commit to a lunch date with a friend or schedule a meeting with a colleague, schedule a time to sit (or lie) down and be still. Perhaps it is once a day in the morning or evening. Find a comfortable spot, free from clutter and outside distractions.
- Play soothing music or the instructional CD.
- Close your eyes and breathe. Get comfortable. Close your eyes and relax your muscles. Do a mental rundown to relax the muscles in your face and the rest of your body. Take deep breaths. Be mindful of the breath filling your body and releasing.
- Let go of your thoughts. By focusing on your breath, it is easier to release the chatter of your thoughts swirling around your head. Follow your breath as it flows through your body.
- Be patient. At first it is difficult to shut down the chatter of your mind. Continue to focus on your breath and push away thoughts and urges to fidget. Open your heart and focus on feeling positive energy flow through your body.
- Notice the changes in your body. Start from your feet up your body, including your internal organs and notice the difference as your mind begins to quiet.
- Find gratitude. At the end of your meditation, give thanks for the gift you have given yourself. Time for you. Feel the positive effects as renewed energy flows through your body.
- Be mindful. When stress threatens to hinder your work or enjoyment of the day, be mindful of the feelings you felt during meditation. Close your eyes and try to bring your mind and body back to that stress-free state. Breathe deeply.
- Commit to a daily practice. The benefits of meditation will improve over time. Be patient and continue with your commitment so that it becomes a lifelong practice.
Benefits of Meditation
Establishing a personal meditation practice can encourage a sense of calm and balance that benefits emotional and physical well-being. If practiced consistently over time, these benefits can be felt throughout your daily life.
Meditation enables you to clear away information overload that contributes to your stress. Some the emotional benefits of meditation include:
- Increased self-confidence
- Building skills to manage stress
- Improved focus and concentration
- Reducing negative emotions
- Improving creativity
- Improved learning ability and memory
- Improved relationships
Meditation and illness
Every day a new study claims the positive health benefits of meditation. But some researchers suggest that it’s not possible to draw concrete conclusions about the health benefits of meditation. But recent research point out that meditation can:
- Reduce Heart Disease
- Decrease high blood pressure and help lower cholesterol
- Reduce anxiety disorders
- Enhance the immune system
- Help fight cancer
- Assist with sleep disorders
- Help with weight loss
- Eliminate headaches and migraines
While studies are not conclusive at this point, meditation does help lead to a deeper level of relaxation which can assist in your routine to reduce stress. (Be sure to talk to your health care provider about the pros and cons of using meditation if you have any of these conditions or other health problems. Meditation isn't a replacement for traditional medical treatment.)