Why Meditate?

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“The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself, the most important journey you can take is one of self-discovery. To know yourself, you must spend time with yourself…” – Aristotle.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by many ancient cultures throughout human history. It allows one to connect with oneself, find inner peace or a sense of calm. During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress has become part of everyday life; thus, managing stress is vital for overall health and well-being. Meditation is a well-known and effective tool for coping with stress.

Three reasons to meditate:
1- Lower stress level
2- Quiet the mind
3- Improve sleep

Meditation changes your brain structure. In a study published March 2016 in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers studied 35 unemployed men and women experiencing job-seeking stress and found significant changes to the brain on scans done after three days of mindful meditation.

The scientific community has a growing body of research to support meditation’s role in coping with stress. Over the years, there has been an abundance of research studies showing the role of meditation in improving mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and managing chronic pain. In a review published in JAMA Internal Medicine, March 2014, researchers reviewed more than 18,000 scientific studies looking at the relationship between meditation and depression and anxiety. It showed that mindful meditation programs had moderate evidence in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety over an eight-week period.

Research suggests that managing negative emotions, such as fear and anger, can improve with practicing meditation. In a small study published in February 2016 in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, researchers examined 15 people who were new to meditation and 12 experienced in meditation. Participants were asked to relive experiences that made them angry. Those who had never practiced meditation before experienced increased heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate, while those experienced in meditation had a minimal physical reaction. Then, those who had never meditated before did so for 20 minutes. When asked to relive the anger-inducing episode once again, they had much less of a physical response.

So Let’s Practice Mindful Meditation!

1- Sit- find a place that is quiet and comfortable, sit on the floor or a chair
2- Set a timer- for beginners, choose a short period, 5 or 10 minutes
3- Notice your body- Notice how your feet connect with the floor, how your hands lay on your body, the position of your shoulders, where your head is in space
4- Feel your breath- follow the flow of air into and out of your body
5- Notice when your mind is wandering- your mind will wander away from your breath to other places, simply return your attention to your breath
6- Don’t judge yourself- Your mind will wander! Just come back
7- Close with kindness- Gently open your eyes if they are closed and notice any sounds in the environment around you. Notice how your body feels- your toes, feet, fingers, arms, shoulder, neck, head

And that’s it! Practice daily to make meditation a healthy habit.






How to Meditate