Meditation - PIH Health

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Published on September 17, 2015

(Don’t) Think About It

woman meditating

Woman meditating

Who’s stressed? Well, pretty much everyone these days. And of all the traditional ways of coping with stress -- like exercise, saying “no” to new projects, reframing your situation -- meditation can be one of the easiest and most enjoyable to employ. It’s simple, inexpensive, requires no special equipment. You can literally do it anywhere.

There are many different ways to meditate, but it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can meditate at a special religious retreat or while riding the bus.

People have been practicing meditation for thousands of years. While it was primarily meant to deepen understanding of the holy or mystical facets of life, now it’s commonly used as a way to relax and decompress.

The one thing that all types of meditation have in common is the practice of clearing your mind of the clutter of jumbled thoughts and pressures. During meditation, you will try to focus your attention on a single thing, like your breaths or a specific saying or mantra. And then you begin clearing out or letting go of everything else, even for just a little while.

Meditation can benefit your physical body as well as your mind. Some research suggests that meditation may help people manage all sorts of physical conditions, from pain and sleep problems to high blood pressure and heart disease. While it should never replace traditional medical treatment, it could help enhance the treatment you’re already getting.

It’s easy to give meditation a try. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Try to get rid of all ambient noise, either by secluding yourself or putting on a pair of headphones. Listen to nature sounds, white noise or your favorite soothing music. And focus on your breaths, even counting them slowly up to ten and then starting over. When your mind wanders, which it invariably will, let go of whatever you’re thinking about and bring your focus back to your breaths.

If you have a hard time relaxing at first, start with a five-minute meditation every day and slowly work your way up. You’ll soon discover a time span that works for you. And if you just happen to be one of the billions of people who are stressed in this world, you could soon reap the benefits of a relaxed and calm mind.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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