Meditation – Simple 101 Guide
The world today is so fast paced that it seems to leave little room for us to slow down, relax and be calm. Even when we go on holiday we take the office and work with us in our minds, thinking about the next board meeting, a dissatisfied client or a where the next deal will come from.
We think we are relaxed and calm, but there are many unseen pressures, concerns, worries and thoughts going on deep within our minds. If we don’t consciously and deliberately take time out to calm ourselves and quieten the inner noise, stress will build up and eventually affect the quality of our lives and how we deal with people around us.
It doesn’t have to be like that. The introduction to meditation will help us learn slow down and become still. It enables our mind to become focused and calm, allowing us to be able to cope with all the daily pressures of a hectic life.
Introduction to Meditation
People normally associate meditation as being solely for spiritual or religious practices. While it is true that many religions make meditation part of their religious practice, it isn’t necessarily a religious practice only. In fact more and more people who aren’t religious are embracing the practice of meditation.
If you feel that life is getting a little to hectic and leaving you stressed out, then it would be a great time to slow down, get calm and relaxed. Meditation can help you achieve the relaxed state you need to calm the mind and become stress free.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a kind of mental exercise that has major health benefits for both the mind and the body. Meditation will help calm the mind, create a more focused state and increase brain function.
Medical research indicates that the practice of meditation tends to evoke a state of physiological relaxation: blood pressure drops, heart beats slower and breathing is quieter, other biochemical changes can also occur.
Just 20 minutes of meditation a day can provide relief for many mental and physical ailments.
- A published study in the Journal of Hypertension showed that meditation helps lower blood pressure and leads to lower stress hormones.
- It reduces the symptoms of many chronic illnesses such as, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
- Helps with and relieves chronic pain, headaches and migraines.
- Meditation helps boost the immune function and even stop binge eating.
- There is a significant relief from asthma attacks.
- Lowers blood lactate reducing anxiety and panic attacks.
- It has been reported that meditation even helps with the lowering of cholesterol.
- Decreases muscle tension and relaxes the nervous system.
- It helps build self confidence.
- Helps to control an over active mind.
- Increases brain wave coherence.
- Helps with the removal of bad habits.
- Helps develop intuition, creativity and focus.
- Improves learning ability and increases memory retention.
- Improves sleep patterns and helps eradicate insomnia.
Simple Steps to Meditate
There are many different ways to meditate so I will only discuss basic meditation, you can use this technique for stress relief, to create a calm peaceful mind.
- Make Time: The first step is to make time to meditate; early morning and evening are the most preferred times. Meditation is most effective when practiced on a regular basis so be prepared to set some time aside for this on a regular basis, create a timetable or a journal.
- Find Your Space: You will need to find or create a quite relaxing environment. This has to be a place where you will not be disturbed by ringing phones, noisy kids, TV, radio or nay other source of loud noises. You might have a place in your own garden or a spare room or shed that is not being used, you may even go to your favourite park, botanical gardens or anywhere where you know you will be safe and undisturbed.
- Take Your Position: Sit still and upright, this is the most common position. Make sure you are comfortable, use a cushion if on the floor or a meditation mat. You may even sit in a chair with your back upright and your feet flat on the ground. Lying down isn’t an option unless you want to go to sleep. Remember comfort is the key here.
- Relax: Now close your eyes and begin to become aware of your body. Start to deliberately relax each part of your body, you can begin with your toes and move up towards your head. Remember to relax your shoulders, neck, jaw, face as these are common areas for us to hold tension.
- Breathe: Now while you are still and silent, begin to focus on your breath. Breathe in silently through your nose and breathe out through the mouth. Breathe from the tummy and fill your lungs, notice how it feels in your nose, throat, chest and tummy as you breathe out. Say silently with each breath, I am breathing in, I am breathing out, this will provide a point of focus.
- Focus: Begin to calm your mind by focusing on your breath and your words. You will soon begin to feel calm and become more present. If you find thoughts coming to you simply acknowledge them and push them aside and continue with your breathing, don’t dwell on them. As you continue to do this, you will notice longer silent spaces between thoughts as they become less frequent. You’re on your way to meditation.
- Duration: There is no set rule for how long you should meditate, however if you are just starting out (5 to 10 minutes) will be easier for you. As you become more comfortable with the practice you can increase the length of time. If you feel more comfortable with a predetermined length of time you may set an alarm, just make sure it isn’t too loud as to startle you.
- Completion: When you are ready to end your meditation, slowly bring your consciousness back to your surroundings. Start to become aware of your presence and the space around you. Slowly and deliberately move your fingers and toes. Begin to move your hands, feet and legs. Open your eyes move slowly and take your time in getting up. That’s it you have just completed a meditation session, well done!
Remember: Meditation is a very effective and easy way to calm your busy mind and help you get proper perspective of things. As you become more grounded in the practice of meditation, you will notice significant changes in your daily life. You will feel more confident, more relaxed and focused as well as being more self aware.
So, start meditating today and reap all the benefits and rewards of a more relaxed, healthier lifestyle.