Meditation, Relaxation, and Mental Health

Why meditate? 

There are many benefits to meditation, and the science proves that is really does work.  Here are just some of the things that it can do for you.

Meditation helps you manage anxiety, relive stress and alleviate depression. It makes you happier by focusing on moment-by-moment experiences, and training the mind to stay calm, even in stressful situations. Along with this, you will have less anxiety due to uncertainty about the future. The part of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety shrinks when meditation is practiced consistently. Meditation can enhance the flow of constructive thoughts and positive emotions. A sense of calmness and peace of mind is what you will start to feel when you begin to practice. Meditation also sharpens your memory and helps you make better choices in life. Meditation also helps you fall asleep. If you’re the type of person who can lie down in bed for hours at a time and not fall asleep, like myself at times, meditation just might be your solution.

Meditation isn’t about wiping the slate of your mind clean, it’s about being aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. Once you start, you will probably notice how busy the mind can be. It’s difficult to slow the mind down, and not everyone can do it at first. Many people are afraid they are doing it wrong, so they give up. Or what I used to do while meditating is think to myself, “geez, this is dumb. I have too much to do and I am just sitting here wasting time doing this.” WRONG! Once I got over this, I realized that I am MUCH better at making choices in my everyday life. I focus better and actually get MORE done when I meditate. 

Where to meditate? You meditate wherever you can find a quiet, peaceful, relaxing spot in your home. It’s best to use the same spot each day, so you may need to find a place where nobody, including pets, can bother you. My cat loves rubbing on me whenever I try to meditate, so if I meditate in the house, I find a room where I can close the door. On nice days, I like to meditate outside on my deck under the pavilion, or on my porch swing.  I like to hold my special crystals while I meditate. Although crystals are not necessary, they give me something to touch while in the zone. Also, remove all distractions like your cell phone, or put it on silence. It’s hard to stay focused on your meditation when you keep hearing your phone giving you notifications.

What time of the day is best?  Whatever time you can squeeze it into your day!  But the experts say that it’s best to do right before starting some big activity in your day. So mornings are probably best for most people, but night can be better for other kinds of people. Just do it! Dedicate time for it daily.

How often to meditate? Every day you should try to meditate for at least 20 minutes at a time. Twice a day is better. Or just one longer session is fine too. Any amount is better than nothing.  Meditation benefits are almost immediate. So keep at it.  If you miss a day in between, just pick it back up.

Stick with it, and keep your sessions short.

Even a few minutes spent meditating regularly can make a big difference!  Try it!

So, how do I meditate? Well, if you do a Google search, you will find TONS of different types of meditations.  What works well for one person may not work for another.  So if one way just doesn’t seem to work for you, find another type. I have tried many different forms of meditation over the years. I found that “Guided Meditation” worked quite well for me for a long time.  But I realized that I didn’t always want to listen to a recording while I meditated and wanted to try something new.  So what I discovered that works best for ME is simply using a mantra.  The mantra I use is “I AM” because of the simplicity of it, and how it sounds when you repeat it over and over.  It starts to not even sound like a real phrase.  It’s just a weird sound that you repeat in your head over and over while racing thoughts continue in the back of the mind.  Just allow those thoughts to float by without paying much attention to them.  Just keep focusing on the mantra, and your breath. You may forget to focus and start thinking about your “To-Do” list, but just go back to the mantra when you remember. Just do this over and over until you sort of get into a zone.  That’s it.  Sounds so simple right?  Because it is!!!

And one more thing!  You do not have to sit crossed-legged like you always see that is so cliché.  You can simply sit in a comfortable chair.  Of course you need to close your eyes and relax. And if you meditate while lying down, don’t be surprised if you fall asleep. That is why meditation can help with insomnia.  If you can’t sleep at night, try meditation while lying in bed.

So, do you meditate?  Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share?  Comment below.

“The 4 Main Types of Meditation” – Tom Cronin

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