Gain Peace, Happiness, and Better Health from Meditation
You wouldn’t believe how often I hear that patients actually enjoy waiting in our office! Do you know why? It’s because it gives them a chance to just sit down and relax. Whether in our waiting area or in a quiet room getting electric stimulation, patients relish simply listening to the relaxing music and staying in one place for a few minutes.
In this crazy busy world where we are rushing through our day on fast forward, it’s sometimes hard to have the discipline or the time to find a few moments of quiet. However, sitting in silence and breathing is very beneficial to your health.
The many benefits of meditation to your mental and physical health
Studies show that just sitting quietly and breathing while focusing on the present lights up parts of the brain associated with feelings of connectedness, love, safety, and calm. What an antidote to the fight or flight stress response that is often already in overdrive within us!
Additionally, meditation strengthens the mind’s ability to focus, can improve memory and cognitive function, and can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. From a physical perspective, meditation can reduce blood pressure, improve breathing, and enhance immune function.
For a great summary of the benefits of meditation along with some scientific references, read this article.
Learning how to mediate
Some people find it challenging to meditate at first. They find that their mind wanders to the internal dialogue, the list of things to do, the conflict and struggles in life. It is completely normal to have all of this chatter in your head. As a matter of fact, it may even seem louder than normal simply because you are becoming more aware of it. I always say don’t worry about the fact that these thoughts pop up in your head. The key is to just observe them and then let them float by like clouds in the sky. Try not to entertain them.
Simply practice bringing your mind back to focus on the present no matter how often it becomes distracted. Some find that saying a mantra aloud or silently in your mind helps. It can be anything such as “I am truth I am truth I am truth” or “I am well I am well I am well.”
One very helpful way to begin practicing is to simply do a guided meditation, like the one below, that will take you through some helpful breathing – bringing your mind to a nice relaxed presence in the moment. Wonderful guided meditations can be found on YouTube as well as on iTunes as podcasts.
You will find with practice that it becomes very natural to achieve an internal calm and quiet. You may even notice that you feel more present in your conversations with others or in your work as you are less distracted in general. And you may notice yourself becoming more mindful about everything!
The 21-Day Meditation Experience
If you really want to commit to meditation, try this meditation challenge from two of my favorite people – Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra! It has already ended but you can still sign up for free and access the meditations. I encourage you to give it a try and see what changes in 21 days!
If you’re worried about not being able to “turn-off” your mind, remember that it’s normal to have many thoughts. It’s estimated that in any one 30-minute session of meditation, you may have upward of 300 thoughts. After years of distraction, it can be a challenge to quiet your mind. While you cannot suddenly turn your thinking off, you can still meditate … and remember that we’re all a work in progress.
So, are you ready to take time out of your busy day and feel better? If so, make a promise to yourself to try meditation. The more you do it, the better you’ll feel and want to continue.