When people say meditation, chances are a picture comes to mind of someone sitting cross-legged while chanting “Ommmm”. This stereotypical image of the ancient practice makes light of what modern meditation really encompasses – a mind-body connection that can reap tons of health benefits. Recent research has confirmed benefits of meditation using modern medical techniques such as EEG or FMRI that demonstrate measurable neurological results. It suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms or conditions such as anxiety, asthma, cancer, chronic pain, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, IBS, sleep problems, and tension headaches. How does it work?
Meditation clears away information overload and gives you a sense of calm, peace, and balance that benefits both your emotional well-bring and overall health. This is achieved through techniques such as focused attention, relaxed breathing, a quiet setting and, most importantly, and open attitude. There are many different approaches to meditation, but the most simple can be done on your own, in a time and place that works best for you.
- Breathe deeply – Focus your attention on your breathing by concentrating on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale. Breathe deeply and slowly. If your mind wanders, return your focus to your breathing.
- Scan your body – Focus your attention on different parts of your body becoming aware of the various sensations like pain, tension, warmth, or relaxation. Combine body scanning with breathing exercise and imagine breathing relaxation into different parts of your body.
- Repeat a mantra – Focus on words that provide a feeling of inner peace and light. You can create a mantra of your own, whether secular or religious. Repeat it slowly, while breathing deeply, and otherwise clearing your mind.
- Focus your love and gratitude – Focus on a significant being or image while weaving feelings of love, compassion, and gratitude into your thoughts. If it helps, close your eyes and use your imagination to picture representations of that being as you allow your mind to become immersed in those positive feelings.