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Simplifying Meditation

By Dr. Hilary Booth on Saturday December 12th, 2015

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Simplifying meditation

A basic guide to starting a meditation practice

Meditation is a lifelong process. Give it a try. As you get deeper and more disciplined into the process, you’ll get deeper and more disciplined in your mind and life. – Brendon Burchard

Meditation can have profound and far-reaching benefits for your health. However, the word “meditation” often conjures up fears about doing it right, committing tons of time, or trying to achieve some abstract zen state. These ideas couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Meditation can be simple, short-lived, and individualized and still produce wonderful long-term benefits for your health. The best part about meditation is that it’s free, and it can be done anywhere by anyone. I would encourage you to give it a try using my tips below.

A guide to simplifying meditationDeveloping a sense of calm awareness

What is meditation?

Think of meditation as a state of calm awareness. You are doing your best to bring your focus to a central thought or action, while avoiding distraction. The best analogy I have heard is that meditation is like a bath for the mind, cleansing it and resetting it for the day. The type of meditation can vary, but the underlying goals of groundedness, calmness, and self-awareness are always the same.

Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed. – Saint Francis de Sales

How is meditation beneficial?

Meditation has the immediate effects of bringing calmness over your body. It takes you away from the hustle and bustle of your otherwise busy day by clearing the mind. It instantly reduces stress and cortisol levels, lowers blood pressure, balances mood, improves brain functioning, and boosts the immune system.

Meditation actually changes the brain’s wavelength from beta to alpha, which we experience as that idling state when we’re deeply relaxed. Alpha waves are what allow for the information transfer and integration in the in the brain required for high-level cognitive processes. These are significant actions in the brain – just from meditating!

Simplifying meditationMeditation is free and you can do it almost anywhere

Simple steps to start meditating

Meditating doesn’t have to be a huge production. It can be done anywhere, at any time (such as when the stress levels start to creep up at work). Here are some simple tips on how to start:

Body Position: Ground yourself by planting both feet on the floor, or by lying down, with an open posture. Your arms and legs are uncrossed, you are comfortable, and your body is relaxed. Soften your jaw, relax your muscles, and gently close your eyes.

Breathing: Focusing on the breath is one of the simplest and most effective ways to meditate. Start by just noticing your breath: the rhythm, and the way it feels in your nostrils, throat and lungs. Next, start to slow down and deepen your breath. Continue to focus on these deep, slow, rhythmic breaths as the centre of your meditation.

Mindset: Your mind will inevitably start to wander away from the breath. When you notice this, simply acknowledge the intruding thoughts, and then gently but firmly bring your attention back to the breath. The more you practice mediation, the less often you will notice your thoughts wandering away from the breath.

A guide to simplifying meditationFrom breathing to purpose – simplifying meditation

Duration: You can meditate for as little or as long as you’d like. I recommend starting out with bite-sized-meditations of 1 – 3 minutes. You’d be surprised by how difficult it is to stay engaged and attentive to the breath for this long. With practice, you will be able to stay engaged for longer periods of time. Some people meditate for hours!

Frequency: Start by meditating once per day, first thing in the morning. I recommend committing to 7 days of 1 – 3 minute sessions, and see how you feel. You may want to set a reminder in your phone to encourage you to follow through. You may also find it beneficial to meditate when faced with stressful situations or anxiety, or before bed to help with insomnia.

Purpose: Remember that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Let go of judgment and expectations. Instead, set an intention for your meditation practice. Maybe that intention is to experience calmness, groundedness, or self-awareness. Maybe it is to boost energy, improve brain function, or reduce stress. Regardless, being aware of your purpose will highlight your positive results and deepen your meditative experience.

Meditation is realizing and expanding your inner beauty in every direction. – Amit Ray

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Words By Dr. Hilary Booth

Originally posted on Darou Wellness

 

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