We train our body with exercise, but what about our mind? Our minds are constantly wandering. We’re worrying about the future, dwelling on the past and daydreaming. Meditation brings us back to the present moment with a more positive, kinder, and less stressed mindset. Transcendental, mindfulness, zen, concentration - how do you choose a form of meditation? How do you learn how to meditate?
How to Meditate
Meditation is used by many Americans as a complementary and alternative medicine therapy. So, do you think it’s time to go sit down for hours and “think of nothing?” Not at all. Meditation and relaxation can take place in as little as five minutes. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry about choosing a form of meditation. In general, start by focusing on your breath. This can mean following your inhalations and exhalations or repeating a single word or mantra. When random thoughts pop up, let them go.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe naturally; do not try to control your breath.
- Focus on the breath and the way the body moves with each inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to the breath.
- Begin by meditating for five minutes, and work your way up to longer periods as time allows.
Think you’re too busy to meditate? Some of the health benefits might make you reconsider taking that 5 minutes for yourself. Relaxation is often a result of meditation. Why? The “relaxation response” is an involuntary response that causes a decrease in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. What does this mean for you?
According to various studies, the relaxation response has the following documented benefits:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower resting heart rate
- Lower respiratory rate
- Lower blood cortisol levels
- Increased immune function
- Improved circulation
- Improved mental clarity and focus
- Improved memory and creativity
- Less anxiety
- Less stress
- Deeper relaxation
The quality of your life depends largely upon the quality of your mind. Try meditation today!