Meditation is a discipline to silence the mind and get you into a deeper state of awareness. This deep, calming experience clears the mind of all the noise we experience in our heads. It creates peace even when the outside world is in disarray. Once the mind is clear, restful feelings and focused thoughts arrive.
Through meditation we can relax our minds to improve our mental health. There are also many physical benefits to meditation.
1. Improved concentration
Meditation clears the mind of useless chatter. This improves memory and other mind functions. As you meditate, the regions of the brain which increase in activity are the same used in attentiveness and decision-making.
2. Better health
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. Studies show that meditation increases energy levels. Many addicts use meditation to help them overcome powerful addictions. It is effective at lowering blood pressure and even strengthens the immune system.
3. Self exploration
Regularly meditating can be a great way to get better self-awareness. When you clear the mind, you’ll have more focus which you can use on yourself. This can result in more personal growth or a better understanding of your body at another level.
4. Improves mood
Meditation makes your mood much better since it has been shown to decrease irritability. There is a recent study on Marines heading to Iraq that showed their moods increasing significantly through meditation compared to those who didn’t meditate.
5. Feelings of rejuvenation
While meditating, blood flow to the brain becomes better. This relaxes the muscles which is one of the reasons stress levels come down. This also results in a quick rejuvenation since it can create a metabolic state of rest far deeper than sleep.
To sum up all of the other points, meditation is relaxing. Regularly meditating can increase feelings of well being. Not only that, but meditation has been shown to increase alpha brain wave activity which is a source of relaxation. This can even make it easier to sleep at night.
How to Get Started
1. The right environment
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Turn off any electronics including cell phones so that nothing will interrupt you. Many people feel that they don’t have enough time to meditate, but all you really need is about fifteen minutes. Some people like using candles, incense or playing a meditation CD. It really comes down to personal preference.
2. Get into position
Sit on the floor, a cushion or a chair. It doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable. Make sure your back is straight. It isn’t necessary to get into a lotus posture for this. Don’t lie down since you’ll risk falling asleep. Avoid eating any meals beforehand since that can make you feel drowsy.
3. Breathe slowly and deeply
Relax and take a few deep breathes. Close your eyes and continue taking deeper breaths. Start inhaling through your nose and exhaling through the mouth. Let this all come naturally. There’s no rush so take your time.
4. Be aware
As you’re breathing, you’ll feel more relaxed. This is the time to clear your mind. Focus all your attention on your breathing. Your attention will drift from time to time. This is the chatter in your mind. To clear this, bring your attention back to your breathing. Some people also overcome chatter with a mantra such as reciting the word “aum”. Others visualize a calming place or stare into a candle flame.
5. Silence your mind
After you’ve focused your mind on either your breathing, mantra or place, you want to focus it on nothing at all. This clears your mind completely. Clearing your mind completely requires a lot of discipline.
Just keep practicing and it will eventually come to you.
Meditation takes practice so you’ll need to do it every day. Over time you’ll be able to better control your thoughts or even stop them altogether. Since our mind is used to the complication and noise thoughts provide, it could take some time. However, once you learn how to silence your mind, you’ll realize that you no longer have to be held back by them.