According to this Mayo Clinic article, there are seven major emotional benefits of meditating:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
Reducing negative emotions? Increasing patience and tolerance? Yes, please!
Meditation also offers physical benefits. The Mayo Clinic points to ten conditions where mediation can help. Some are fairly common, like anxiety and sleep problems, and some are serious, like cancer and heart disease:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches
Convinced meditation can help both your mind and your body? Now you might be wondering how and where to start. This New York Times story outlines the basics of meditating and includes four guided meditations for you to try. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
- Find a comfortable, quiet place to lay down.
- Click on the article link
- Scroll down and press PLAY.
Two crucial elements of meditation:
- Don’t try to control your breathing; just make a point to notice your breath going in and out.
- Don’t attempt emptying your mind; it’s virtually impossible. If you try to not think about a penguin, a vision of a penguin takes over your thoughts. If a stressor enters your thoughts, recognize it without judgment, and let it pass you by, like cars on a highway. Here’s an example: Deep breath in. “Where should I order New Year’s Eve dinner from?” Exhale. “Oh, I’m breathing in and out and thinking about New Year’s Dinner. I’ll handle that later. Now I’m lying here comfortably, and I’m breathing in, and I’m breathing out.”
Check out this easy-to-follow beginner meditation exercise guide from GAIAM.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
There’s plenty of help with meditation offered via technology, including on-line courses and videos and a multitude of apps.
Right here at Eastcastle Place, within our own community, Pastor Harold offers meditation classes on our in-house television Channel 955.
Adding mediation to your routine can be fast and straightforward. “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have the patience” is a definite sign that you need to meditate!