7 Tips for & Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a form of complementary medicine that produces a state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. Anyone can practice meditation! Meditation is referred to as a practice because, like all skills, it must be done repeatedly in order to improve. During meditation one’s attention is focused on quieting the mind and calming the thoughts. In this way, meditation can help enhance physical and mental well-being.
Some benefits of meditation that are documented in the literature include:
- Building skills to manage stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Decreasing Anxiety
- Decreasing Blood pressure
- Decreasing Fatigue
- Decreasing Heart disease
- Decreasing Sleep disturbance
It should be noted that meditation is an adjunctive therapy; it should be used in conjunction with other treatments to facilitate healing.
There are many types of meditation such as: guided meditation, tai chi, mantra meditation, qi gong, mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, and yoga. Some elements that will help you meditate include: a quiet setting, focused attention, relaxed breathing, and a comfortable position.
Here are some ways that you can practice meditation on your own to achieve some of the health benefits noted above!
- Breathe Deeply
This is a good technique for beginners. Focus all of your attention on your breathing, in and out through your nose. If your attention wanders, just guide it back to your breath.
- Scan Your Body
Focus your energy on different parts of your body and concentrate on relaxing them. I find it helpful to start from the bottom or the top and make your way down or up!
- Repeat A Mantra
Use a religious mantra or create your own. Use a word or short phrase that you find calming and peaceful.
- Walk & Meditate
Use this technique anywhere you’re walking. Slow down and focus on each individual movement of your legs and feet.
- Engage in Prayer
Prayer is the most practiced form of meditation. Your prayer may be written, spoken or silent, using your own words, or the words of others.
- Read & Reflect
Many people benefit from reading poems or listening to spoken word or music that they find relaxing or inspiring and then taking some time to reflect upon it.
- Focus Your Love & Gratitude
Focus your attention on an object or a being, bringing feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts.
Meditation takes practice; so don’t judge your skills prematurely! You may find that your mind wanders no matter how long you’ve been practicing. Simply guide your thoughts back and refocus your attention. Experiment with the different types of meditation to find one that suits your lifestyle and that you enjoy doing!
Dr. Julia Callaghan, BSc (Hons), DC, ART,
CSCS, Contemporary Medical Acupuncture
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (1998-2014). Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Retrieved February 3, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/meditation/art-20045858?pg=1