Are you stressed out? Need to find your composure before a big presentation? Feeling blue? Consider meditation! Meditation has time-proven benefits for your mental and physical health.
There is perhaps no universal agreement as to how to define meditation other than it is a practice or set of practices by which one trains the mind to push past the “thinking mind” to another state of consciousness. Meditation can open the mind to new ways of seeing the world and relationships, and it can open the heart to greater forgiveness, capacity to give and receive love and find peace.
There are many different types of meditation including:
In modern western thought, meditative techniques are often generally divided into two broad categories: focused meditation and mindfulness meditation. Focused meditation seeks to concentrate intentionally on a specific subject or objective. Mindfulness meditation allows a relaxed observation of all thoughts that enter one’s awareness while you are meditating.
According to the Mayo Clinic and other health centers, meditation may provide the following benefits:
Physical Benefits. Developing a practice of meditation can enhance relaxation, lower blood pressure, improve rest and sleep, and increase a sense of overall well-being. Meditation produces a favorable effect on the immune system as well. It has been useful in pain management, in relieving certain cancer and chemotherapy/radiation symptoms, and useful in addressing aspects of heart disease. You can even train your brain to overcome cravings.
Mental Benefits. Meditation has been shown to make the brain more adaptable and to improve brain function even better than sleep. It also has been shown to help people age at a slower pace. It may even help you live longer by protecting your genes.
Mental Health Benefits. Meditation can increase compassion and empathy, and foster personal and spiritual growth. It can be a powerful tool to ease depression, address anxiety, and control the response to pain.
Next in the series: How to Get Started
Dr. Linda Spooner is Board-certified in Internal Medicine with a particular interest in women’s health and wellness. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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