How Meditation Can Help You Cope With Stress and Anxiety
Did you know high levels of stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on your health? Find out how incorporating meditation into your routine can improve your mental health.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the practice of quieting your mind. When successful, this can trigger the body’s natural relaxation response. Meditation is a skill, and just like any skill, it requires practice. But that practice has the power to quiet the mind and help information process at a slower, less frantic pace. This is why it can dramatically reduce stress and help a person process their anxiety in healthier ways.
How do I meditate?
While there are lots of apps and YouTube videos available with guided meditations, the basic concepts are the same and very easy. You will want to be sitting comfortably in a quiet space where you are unlikely to be disturbed or distracted. Follow these steps:
-Ensure you are comfortable sitting in the same position for two to five minutes.-Close your eyes and begin to breathe in and out, deeply and slowly.
-Focus on your breathing as you continue to breathe in and out, deeply and slowly.
-If you find your mind wandering, guide it back to focusing on the in and out of your breath.
-Continue this for two to five minutes.
Did you find that it was difficult to focus on nothing but your breath? For those new to meditation and even those who are well-practiced, this is the challenge. But also, in allowing yourself the space to work toward ending the narratives and thoughts swirling in your brain, you are allowing your body to release tension and move into a more relaxed state.
Where should I meditate?
As mentioned earlier, find a comfortable, quiet space where you are unlikely to be disturbed or distracted. Often, we envision serene spots in nature or other elaborate locations. Instead of looking for the perfect spot, focus on a location that is accessible in your daily routine. That way, you will be more likely to continue building the skill through consistent practice.
How long should I meditate?
Mediation sessions can last anywhere from two to 20 minutes. If you are new to it, starting with shorter sessions will help you practice the skill without being overwhelmed or frustrated.
How often should I meditate?
Some people meditate daily, as part of a routine, while others rely on meditation to help their mental and physical wellbeing during times of stress. The best way to understand how meditation will help you is by practicing as often as you would to build any other skill. Consistency is important. And if you’re currently under stress, finding just five minutes a day can make a difference in your mental health.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Stress and anxiety reduction are major benefits of meditation and the reason people have practiced it for centuries. But also, the practice can improve your attention span, enhance self-awareness and help with age-related memory loss.
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