An amazing gift we can give our mental health is the gift of meditation.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation benefits mental health, reduces anxiety and depression by lowering the blood lactate levels, decreases tension related pain, such as, ulcers, muscle/joint pain and tension headaches. It also lowers high blood pressure. Meditation slows your respiration down, allowing you to naturally take longer and deeper breaths. This helps lower your stress levels by boosting your immune system, slowing the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Meditation also benefits mental health by clearing your mind, enabling you to make critical dicisions.
Where to begin
You may have thought about giving meditaion a try in the past but really didn’t know where to start. There is no time like the present to give it a go. I am here to help guide you.
- First, make sure you are comfortable. No clothes constricting you, move any uncomfortable objects that you my be sitting/laying on. (You do not want to be thinking about how much something is bothering you while you are trying to get zen).
- Focus: on an object that can be placed in front of you or in the palm of your hand that has a personal meaning to you
- Visualize a place that calms you or makes you happy for example, maybe the beach or a favorite vacation spot
- Use a mantra (word, phrase, thought, or feeling) on which you repeat in your head that makes you feel calm. Some of my favorites are: “I am healthy, I am Strong”, “Inhale peace, Exhale stress” or the most popular mantra used universally “om”
- Use your “counting breath” I talked about in my Just Breathe post
- Put on calming music, sounds of the ocean, sounds of nature or simply sit/lay/stand in silence.
Try any one of these techniques for one solid minute. I know this does not sound like a long time but trust me meditating can be harder than you think. It is so easy for your mind to wander. “I still have so much laundry to do”, “What should I make for dinner?”. After you feel comfortable meditating for one minute, up the minutes to two or three and so on. Once you are able to sit and clear all of that mind chatter you can find your way to meditate for mental health!
Which is your favorite technique to use while meditating? Write in the comments below to let me know!