[MEDITATION IS HEALTHY]-- 4 MIN READ
Welcome to the “From the Fight” blog. The past few weeks we have been talking about what it means to be “healthy” holistically in society. Today we will be discussing meditation and why it is healthy.
Meditation has been around for centuries. Meditation basically like “exercise for your brain.” And while basic forms of meditation can be simple — for example, focusing on the sensations of your breath for a period of time — meditating is not always easy to actually do. Sometimes, it is hard to clear your head and just “be,” but it is so worth it! Let’s take a look at what meditation is and why it is healthy.
What is meditation?
There are different ways to meditate, and since it’s such a personal practice there are probably more than any of us know about. There are a couple that are usually focused on heavily in scientific research, though. These are focused attention or mindful meditation, which is where you focus on one specific thing—it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders.
The other type of meditation that’s often used in research is open-monitoring meditation. This is where you pay attention to all of the things happening around you—you simply notice everything without reacting.
Why is meditation important?
Meditation is truly a brain-changing experience, and this is now being proven time and time again in the field of neuroscience thanks to the discovery of “Neuroplasticity.” Neuroplasticity describes how the brain can actually reshape itself, its chemical pathways and cells by adapting to our thought patterns, environments and experiences.
Here are some of the benefits of meditation:
lowering risks for obesity and overeating
helping you fall asleep and improving sleep quality
helping people recover from chronic illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
treating mental disorders, like bipolar disorder/ manic depression, eating disorders and more
lowering inflammation and building a stronger immune system
improving decision-making and communicating
boosting productivity at work
increasing positive feelings, including happiness, connection to others, equanimity, calm, peace and compassion
fighting depression and anxiety
lowering cortisol levels
helping treat learning disabilities like ADHD
improving memory, focus and mental performance
How to implement meditation into your life?
Choose a time and location: Some people meditate in the morning, others meditate later during the day. Choose a time during the day that works best for you and find the nice place to do it.
Establish a daily habit: set aside some time daily to meditate. Start small and work your way up to a bigger chunk of time. Remember, the more you practice, the easier and often more enjoyable meditation becomes.
Learning proper posture: Staying alert is important during your meditation. It’s common to practice sitting upright on a mat, chair, cushion or kneeling bench, but you can also lay down flat or even be walking or standing while you meditate. Either way, the goal is to remain upright, tall and balanced in an erect posture with your back straight, which allows you to breathe deeply. At the same time, let your muscles relax (especially if you have pains) and let go of gripping or tension as much as possible. You can either close your eyes fully or keep them softly open if you prefer.
Trying to drop any judgment: When meditating, one of the goals (and hardest things to do) is to keep yourself from getting frustrated, overwhelmed or disappointed with your wandering mind. When meditating, just do it. You will get better with time and practice. Try your best to let go of any expectations and not be too hard on yourself.
Start meditation today!
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