Meditation, which enables one to focus on the present moment, has a history of more than several thousand years and was first developed in India. It is one of the most effective ways to keep your mind healthy. You do not have to follow a religious tradition to enjoy the benefits of meditation, and there are various meditation techniques to choose from. Even though sitting cross-legged on the floor is common practice: you can sit on a chair, lay down on the floor or you could also be walking which is known as the walking meditation technique done at a pace slower than a normal walk. Some prefer repeating a word or sentences while meditating which is the mantra meditation technique. Another popular one is the Vipassana which means seeing things as they really are. It is the process of self- purification by self-observation, one begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind (1).
It has been researched that during meditation blood flow is directed to the parasympathetic nervous system. Meditation is highly effective to relieve stress since the parasympathetic system conserves energy, slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract (2).
Like any other activity you add to your life, meditation takes practice. You can start with a few minutes a day and increase it as you see fit; also try various techniques and decide which one is more helpful to your specific needs. I recommend, when beginning meditating, to set a specific time each day to practice; this will make it easier to stick to the first couple of months until it becomes part of your lifestyle. After a few months of practice, meditating will become part of your healthy daily routine where you will come out of a session feeling relaxed and refreshed.
As a reminder, there is no such thing as perfection in meditation; each session is a way to practice and gain experience. If you start feeling anxious in a session I would advise too – without judgment – bring back your attention to a basic element such as your breath. Keeping your head clear during meditation takes a lot of practice as our mind is often filled with hundreds of thoughts in this modern world we live in. If you are able to acknowledge the thought, you could ask it – mentally – to go away. You can keep practicing this specific task; it will get easier with time to recognize when thoughts are present and to let them go.
As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a humanitarian, spiritual leader and ambassador of peace say “the quality of our life depends on the quality of our mind”.
(1) Vipassana Meditation Centre. (n.d.). Introduction to the Technique. Retrieved November 11, 2018, from https://www.suttama.dhamma.org/shared-pages/understanding-the-technique-and-its-code-of-discipline/
(2) Science Daily (Ed.). (n.d.). Parasympathetic nervous system. Retrieved November 11, 2018, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/parasympathetic_nervous_system.htm
NOTE: ALL MATERIAL AND INFORMATION CONTAINED IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE INFORMATION IN MY ARTICLES ARE NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE A ONE-ON-ONE RELATIONSHIP WITH A QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL AND ARE NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE.
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