I’ve talked before about the myriad benefits of meditation. This simple practice elicits amazingly powerful, positive changes in the body. Now let’s talk about those benefits and how you can begin to incorporate this practice into your life to become your best, whole you.
Benefits of Meditation
Evidence-based meditation is calming, soothing and so healthful for everyone. Regular practice can bring about positive changes in:
- Stress and anxiety levels
- Pain response
- Physical health
- Mental health and clarity
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate/respirations
- Brain chemistry
- And more!
There is growing understanding in the medical community that psychological factors, such as stress, have a large effect on physical health. Meditation has entered mainstream health care these days and is widely used to reduce stress and pain. It’s scientifically proven to improve outcomes and reduce recovery time in patients. And it’s so simple and something everyone can do!
Learning to Breathe
One of the most important factors in evidence-based meditation is your breath and learning to control it properly. It sounds so simple to say – just breathe – but we’re looking for a special kind of breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is what delivers many of these benefits. Breathing deeply and fully makes all the difference. Here’s how to do it:
- Inhale deeply, watching to make sure the book rises.
- Exhale fully to be sure the book falls completely.
Practice this in five-minute sessions until it becomes natural to breathe this way. Diaphragmatic breathing delivers more oxygen, increases vitality, reduces stress and balances mood. What great benefits for doing something so simple – breathing deeply and consciously!
A Basic Meditation Practice
Once you’ve mastered your breath, you’re ready to take it all on. Here are the steps to creating your own, perfect meditation practice. Do it daily if you can, but as you are easing meditation into your life, just try as often as possible, never feeling like a failure if you miss a day. Any amount of meditation is good for you. Be proud of what you accomplish!
- Begin by sitting comfortably with good posture. This may be in a rigid, straight-backed chair, atop a meditation pillow or in your favorite, cushiony chair.
- Begin to quiet your mind.
- Focus on your breathing — in and out slowly.
- Repeat a word or phrase that feels right to you. Some choose to say one word or portion of a phrase on the inhale, and another word or the rest of a phrase on the exhale. Choose something meaningful or calming, perhaps something related to a goal you are trying to achieve such as love, joy or even truth.
- If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breath and phrase.
You choose the length of your practice. Most people find it easiest to start with short sessions and build up over time.
I’d like to help you develop this practice. If you’re looking for more information and guidance as you establish a meditation routine, contact me, Karen David. Let’s incorporate meditation into your wellness plan.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.