Numerous scientific studies have proven that meditation has many positive effects on the body. The physical benefits of incorporating relaxation techniques into our daily lives have been shown to be just as beneficial as the emotional and spiritual ones. As we focus on deepening our breathing and relaxing our muscles, our blood pressure lowers and our heart rate stabilizes. The tension we hold onto begins to fade and our bodies respond by regulating our metabolic rates and stimulating our brain waves.
Relaxation and repetition are at the heart of meditation. Concentrating on breathing, blocking out distractions and repeating a soothing word or phrase, called a mantra, work in tandem to lull our bodies into a deepened state of serenity. Consistent meditation can lead to changes in our brains memory, focus, attention and learning centers. Our stress levels reduce noticeably and our brains are triggered to increase Serotonin production. This important neurotransmitter controls our mood and low levels of Serotonin can be a cause of depression. Meditation is a natural, drug-free way to regulate our brains chemistry.
Meditation is not difficult to learn. Once you make the commitment to incorporate it into your daily routine you will see how easy and gratifying the process is. Here are some tips to making meditation a part of your life:
- Decide what time of day works best for you. You will need to be free of distractions and obligations during your meditation practice. Many people find that first thing in the morning works best for them. Others feel that they can focus more at the end of the day, after they have completed their days work.
- Find a quiet place in your home to meditate. It can be your bedroom, your garden, or even your shower. Any place that you can be alone and undisturbed for the length of your meditation.
- Get comfortable. Meditation can be achieved while sitting or laying down. Stretch your body and relax your jaw, shoulders and stomach. If seated, make sure you have good posture to allow the flow of breath to pass easily through your body.
- Focus your attention on your breathing. Breathing is the fundamental tenet of meditation. Don’t overcomplicate this. Breathe deeply in and out, paying attention to the air making your belly rise on the inhalation and lower on the exhalation. These cleansing breaths should be rhythmic and controlled.
- Try not to think. This can be difficult and takes lots of practice to master. Clearing your mind can be achieved by concentrating on your breathing. Focus your intention on the deep inhale and exhale and do your best to block out unwanted thoughts. If you find your mind wandering, do not get frustrated. Acknowledge the thought and let it go. Refocus on your breath. Do this as many times as you need to during your meditation session.
- Start slowly and build up your stamina. Most people find it almost impossible to meditate for longer than 5 to 10 minutes when they begin. And that is ok! Any time spent meditating can benefit your body and mind. Setting an alarm is a good way to allow yourself to focus on your relaxation without worrying about how long you have been at it. Increase the length of your meditation as you feel comfortable.
Making the decision to incorporate meditation into your healthy lifestyle is a wonderful gift to yourself. Set your intention and start your relaxation routine today.