Meditation is thought of as a spiritual endeavor, but it can have many health benefits, too. The Huffington Post says that it improves stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function. By changing your brain, it can also reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health.
Not sure how to start? Here are some easy ways to begin practicing meditation. Try these tips and share them with your family so you can all enjoy the benefits.
Prayer is one of the most well-known forms of meditation and an important part of many religions. Prayer is a way to communicate with God. It is a time when the supplicant considers the many blessings in his life and increases his feelings of gratitude. Often, people who pray put aside worldly concerns and focus on increasing their spirituality. It helps to put problems into perspective. You can pray alone, together with your spouse or with your family to strengthen your relationships.
To begin praying, simply address God. Thank him for the blessings in your life, and then ask him for aid that you might need. Finish by saying Amen.
Focused breathing is the most basic form of meditation. It is also one of the best ways to lower stress. When we get busy and stressed, our breathing becomes faster and shallow.
Focus on your breathing. Try to make your breath deeper, slower and more rhythmic. If your mind starts to wander, gently return your attention to your breath.
Breathe in while you slowly count to six. Then, breathe out while you slowly count to six. Continue as you feel yourself start to relax.
Breathe in while you slowly count to six. Hold your breath and count to seven. Release your breath while you count to eight. By holding your breath and exhaling explosively, you can relieve tension.
With mantra meditation, you calmly repeat a word or phrase.
I like to have a mantra with at least two syllables. That way, I can say one syllable with my inhale and the other with the exhale. One of my favorite mantras is simply I Am. When I focus on the thought “I am,” it helps me to realize that I am an eternal being, and that this life is but one stop on my journey. It allows me to let go of small and insignificant problems.
Another method of mantra meditation is to count each breath. Breathe deeply and count to 10, and then begin counting again at one. Alternatively, you can count to 10, and then count backwards from 10 to one. Remember, each time your mind starts to wander, bring it gently back to your breathing and counting. This is a great method for your children when they are feeling anxious or upset.
Guided imagery is also called visualization. The Mayo Clinic says that Guided imagery means that you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. You may be led through the meditation by a teacher or a guide. When my husband is feeling stressful, many times I will guide him through some of these meditations to help him relax.
Take an inventory of your body. With this method of meditation, you start at the top of your head and focus your attention on each part of your body individually.
Try progressive relaxation. This method is similar to body inventory. Start at your feet and tense the muscles in your feet for 10 seconds. Then, release. Move up your body, tensing and releasing muscle groups as you go.
Picture your body as being filled with fluid. Pretend that you have a leak in the bottom of your feet. As you breathe, imagine the fluid slowly seeping from your body, first from your head slowly to your feet. Alternatively, imagine that the liquid is all the negative energy from the day, and that you are expelling all the anger, frustration and worry that has accumulated.
Focus on a group of related items, such as flowers or sea shells. Choose one item from the group and imagine every small detail of it. When you have exhausted the details of one item, move on to the next. For example, if you select flowers, you might start by imagining a daisy. Think of each petal, the center, the leaves and the stem. Once you have finished the daisy, you might choose a rose or a daffodil.
Imagine achieving a goal. If there is something you would like to achieve, imagine yourself having already achieved it. Think about how you would feel and what would be different about your life. This is a great form of meditation for people in sports, the arts and business. This method can help children who are anxious about taking a test or facing other challenges.
Meditation is great for the body and soul. With these easy tips, you and your family can begin to enjoy the benefits of meditation yourself.