Give yourself a gift. No, no, don’t say you don’t deserve it. You do. It takes some time, 15-20 minutes every day or so, but you deserve that as well. Put homework and housework on hold. Find a quiet corner, settle into a comfortable position, and give yourself the simple gift that can improve your physical and emotional health. These are the benefits of meditation.
Research Shows Direct Brain Effects of Meditation
For a striking anatomical breakdown of just where and how meditation affects the brain, check out this infographic. Meditation has multiple effects on multiple areas of the brain. Each have potentiating affects that create positive responses in the body. Five of these important health benefits of meditation are:
- Meditation reduces pain
- Meditation reduces feelings of anxiety & depression
- Meditation calms the mind, reducing distractions and overactive thoughts
- Meditation enhances the body’s immune system
- Meditation increases energy
In fact, it is difficult to find any negative impact that is caused by meditation. And yet, in the United States, it isn’t something that most Americans integrate into their daily routine, even though the health benefits of meditation are clearly there.
Making Meditation a Healthy Habit
Making meditation a daily habit is a gradual process. To make meditation a habit, and achieve the full benefits of meditation, commit to the following schedule:
1st week: 5 minutes of meditation 3 days a week
2nd week: 7 minutes of meditation 4 days a week
3rd week: 10 minutes of meditation 4 days a week
4th week: 10 minutes of meditation 5 days a week
5th week: 15 minutes of meditation 5 days a week
6th week: 20 minutes of meditation 5-7 days a week
Sitting in a supported chair, or lying on the floor are two options for meditation beginners. Set a timer at for the minutes suggested in the above schedule. You may opt to have simply silence, or some quiet instrumental music. There are many meditation CD’s available that can enhance relaxation during meditation.
After becoming comfortable in the position of choice, slowly breathe in and out, concentrating on your breathing. If thoughts enter into your mind, try to gently push them away, and refocus on your breathing. As the weeks pass, this will become easier. By the final week, may people choose to meditate daily, with short meditation breaks at other times of the day when calm or stress relief is necessary.
These links provide short guided meditations, breathing techniques, and music that can be used the first week or two of your mediation practice: