Meditation for Stress Reduction and Improved Health

Meditation has proven to have many positive effects physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – including stress reduction for overall improved health.

We all could use a powerful stress reduction technique like meditation during these extreme times we are currently living. Yet you may be like many and become even more stressed with the simple idea of implementing meditation. Could this be because of the image in your mind that meditation holds?

For me personally, just imagining “sitting in lotus position” for any length of time makes me cringe. Many think the idea of “quieting their mind” is a setup for failure. Others feel, “finding the time” or “adding one more thing to their to do list” daunting.

Clearly defining meditation may change your mind about it. I like Wikipedia’s definition the best – especially the last line.

Wikipedia defines meditation as a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Scholars have found meditation difficult to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them.

There is not a one size fits all meditation technique.

There is a technique that will work for you and work for you in your own way! You also can be creative with it as I was with my audio-visual meditations combining nature scenery, relaxing music and positive affirmations.

The key here is to experiment with meditation techniques until you find one that works for you. And how do you know if you were successful? If you feel better than you did before you started.

The following are just a few of many meditation techniques:

Journey Meditation – combines imagery and visualization to achieve a meditative state. This form of meditation appeals to those who find peace by picturing themselves in a peaceful place.

Sounding Meditation – uses the repetition of a word or sound as its focal point. It appeals to those who find that making noise is a path to inner quiet or feeling calm. Releasing sound helps release stress.

Heart Meditation – happens when you focus on your breathing and your heart area at the same time. Think of this as “heart breathing” where you sit quietly and breathe in and out in a slow and rhythmic pattern with your heart. As you regularly perform this meditation you will develop a new inner guidance system that is controlled by your heart. This guidance can be trusted, unlike the guidance you receive from your head.

Movement Meditation – combines breathing and gentle, flowing movement to create a meditative state, e.g, yoga. It appeals to those who tend to achieve a meditative state of mind by moving their bodies.

Walking Meditation – involves being focuses on the physicality of each step – the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of you breath while moving and feeling the wind against your face.

Studies have proven that as little as 10 – 15 minutes a day of meditation reduces your stress level!

You do not have to carve out an hour of your day to do meditation in order to reap its benefit. As little as 10 – 15 minutes give results. Many find themselves gradually adding time because it feels so good.

The following are some proven benefits of meditation:

Physical: decreased high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improved cardiopulmonary system, younger biological age, reduced workload of the heart.

Psychological: decreased anxiety, decreased depression, decreased irritability, improved memory, increased self-esteem, increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, increased happiness, increased emotional stability.

Spiritual: self-awareness, opened creativity, love of self and others.

2020 has to win the prize for the Year of Uncertainty. Almost everyone is in uncharted territory. The impact of this pandemic on our mental, emotional and physical well-being affects us all to one degree or another.

Now, more than ever, is the time to be proactive and responsible for your inner and outer well-being. Meditation is the most powerful tool you can add to your toolbox to get through these difficult times.

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Denna Shelton

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