New scientific studies on meditation liken it to a workout for your brain. When you pair meditation with a healthy lifestyle, what can’t you accomplish? And, if you look at exercise, eating right, and meditation as three legs of a healthy lifestyle stool, meditation takes the least amount of time and effort. You just need to carve out a quiet moment to get started.
Still not sure? Ponder this. Science says meditation can help you:
- Improve your memory
- Hone your focus
- Increase your brain size and density
- Increase blood flow to your brain
- Decrease your blood pressure
- Regulate your emotions
- Release antibodies
- Decrease stress
- Improve your mood
- Be less bothered by physical pain
And there are no negative side effects!
There are different schools of meditation. Some help you live calmly. Others activate your adrenaline to help you focus on getting things done.
The easiest meditation to start with is to sit quietly and comfortably with a straight spine. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing in through your nose lets your brain know you’re relaxing. Take long, slow breaths and you’ll actually feel your body slow down and start to relax. If it helps you to focus, notice the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your body. As your mind starts to wander, bring it back to your breath. As you breathe in, let your neck and abdomen muscles relax.
Other types of meditation focus on visualization or on repeating a mantra – a word, phrase, or sound. The trick is to find what works best for you – and what you can stick with. I love visualizing a tour of my body and let me tell you when I get to my brain the colors are strong and moving. So odd. When I do a “mantra” meditation, my mantra is “thank you.” Repeat that enough times and I guarantee you will relax and move into a new space.
If you haven’t tried meditation, figure out where you can steal 10 minutes a day for the next week. Try 10 minutes of quiet a day, and at the end of the week, see how you feel.
Here’s a link to a recent Curiosity.com segment on meditation.
Here’s a little Cape Elizabeth morning symmetry if you’d like a nice visual to focus on today.