Meditation? Why bother I hear you say?
Before exploring some of the benefits of practicing meditation, let’s start from the very beginning:
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Authentic meditation enables us to focus on the present moment rather than dwell on the unchangeable past or undetermined future.
Meditation used to be seen as mainly being part of this spiritual “Far East” culture. Nowadays, however, I see more and more patients who are constantly “worked up” and have no time for themselves to relax and enjoy life. Many of us are familiar with the phrases: “But I must work harder and longer hours because my business needs to grow”; “My boss said I need to meet another deadline by Friday, so I must do extra hours”, “I have 3 kids, 2 dogs, and a cat, and never have time for myself”; “Me and my wife have just bought a new house so I can’t afford to take any time off and must work weekends”….
…pause…breathe…chill…spending 5-10 mins a day meditating will most likely not have any detrimental effect on any of the above, but can only benefit you, your well-being, and your family!
How to Meditate?
There are many types of meditation, but most have five elements in common:
- Find a quiet location with as few distractions as possible (it is better to meditate roughly at the same time each day; mornings work for most, some people prefer evenings).
- Get in a specific, comfortable posture (sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions).
- Take nice and deep breaths in and out through your nose (after a few days, you will find a rhythm that your body is comfortable with).
- Have your attention focused on something (a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or the sensations of the breath).
- Have an open attitude (letting distractions come and go naturally without judging them).
20 mins of meditation a day has been proven to be the most beneficial, however, you may need to start from as little as 2-5 mins day for a few weeks for the body to get used to it and for a habit to be created.
- Perhaps the most significant benefit of meditation is its ability to improve attention. When we concentrate for extended periods of time during meditation, it should carry over to daily life. Focused attention is very much like a muscle, one that needs to be strengthened through exercise.
- Meditation is seen by a number of researchers, as one of the most effective forms of stress and anxiety reduction.
- Studies show that meditation has been linked to dramatic changes in electrical brain activity, namely increased Theta and Alpha EEG activity, which is basically linked with wakeful and relaxed attention.
- Other studies, for example, have shown that meditation is linked to cortical thickness, which can result in decreased sensitivity to pain, and therefore less aches and pains.
- Many studies prove that regular meditation also improves memory, and the ability to think outside the box.
When can I start meditating?
You guessed it…
…Right now will be a good start!
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle
“Your lifestyle choices today can change the world tomorrow, so why not change it for better?!”
Dr Stefan Gospodinov DC (MChiro)