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Is Meditation for Me?

A look at mind-body connectedness

The idea of meditation for many people often involves imagery of chanting, humming, smoke and a religious experience. Though meditation may involve sound and be practiced to have a greater connection with your Divinity, is not specific to religious practice. Meditation is the practice of tuning our attention away from distracting thoughts and quieting the mind and body in an effort to experience inner calm and peace. Attitudes towards meditation have changed greatly, and it has been incorporated into some schools to teach kids to be more present, calm and cooperative.

  • Stress and anxiety reduction by quieting the mind and body, and reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Lowering blood pressure and improving breath regulation by taking the body into a better state of relaxation.
  • Improves self-awareness and acceptance by helping to clear the mind so we can see who we really are from a better vantage point. From there we can alter or maintain our life’s path as we choose.
  • Increases joy by stimulating the part of the brain that is responsible for positive emotions.
  • Better concentration, focus and memory. Studies have shown increases in brain energy after meditating, as well as the decrease in brain clutter contribute to these improvements.
  • Better control over willpower, emotions and impulses. Learning to control and redirect our mind with meditation has been shown to help people control the triggers of addictive behavior.
  • Improves sleep by teaching people to quiet racing thoughts and redirecting them.
  • Helps decrease the feelings of many aches and pains by helping us truly experience the sensation rather than continuing to be agitated and worried about it, causing more pain.

While meditation does not require any tools many people find that guided recordings help when they first begin. Likewise, it does not require more than 10 minutes if you do not have much spare time. You may choose to actively disconnect and relax on your favorite piece of furniture or outside, or be mindful and quiet of thoughts while gardening or painting. Not all meditation looks the same.

During meditation you may choose to focus your attention on your breath, a sound or imagery. You can allow your mind to wander and allow thoughts to enter your mind but pass through rather than expanding on them. Once you learn to quiet the mind and body complex you’ll be able to better manage triggers and anxiety, and will be able to actively engage in stress reduction as daily practice.

Originally published at www.nicolehollar.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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