Every day life can get stressful at times, and it's easy to start feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of what's happening around us.
There are many people who find that using meditation on a regular basis gives their mind a chance to quieten itself and return to a calmer state of equilibrium. Usually, people will meditate in a quiet space, free from distraction.
There are many different methods of meditating, but they all aim to lead to the same place - a mind that is free of internal "chatter" and "noise"
Sometimes meditation is used by people in an attempt to reach a higher state of consciousness. This can come about because our mind is less cluttered and therefore we start to notice things that might ordinarily pass us by.
- The benefits of meditation
Medical studies have confirmed that the regular practice of meditation delivers health benefits. For example in one published study, a group of patients suffering from moderately high blood pressure were taught simple meditation, practiced twice a day for 10 minutes - and within 4 weeks their blood pressure had returned to the normal range.
People who practice regular meditation report higher levels of peace of mind and contentment in their life. The Better Health site of the Victorian government reports that the practice of regular meditation has been used effectively as part of treatment programs for a range of disorders, that have included ......
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Recovery from accident, trauma or illness
During the meditative state, researchers have found there are changes in electrical activity within the brain. The brain wave patterns are altered, in particular there is an increase in alpha waves which are associated with a state that has been described as "wakeful relaxation", which is quite different to brain activity during sleep. This may explain what many people who practice meditation describe as their experience of a deep calmness, and yet also often gaining flashes of insight or intuition into problems they are facing.
There are many different methods of meditation, many of them require a point of focus. In some methods, it might be a sound or mantra that is quietly repeated. In other methods, the meditation might involve focus upon something visual, such as a candle or a mandela.
In the following simple meditation, your focus will be upon your breath.
Start by adopting a comfortable position, so that you're able to focus solely on your breathing. Once you're comfortable, close your eyes.
Notice your breathing. We breathe so often that we tend to take breathing for granted. So take the time to notice your breathing. Notice the air filling your lungs.
Then notice as you breathe out and the air leaves your lungs - be aware of the small movements in your chest and belly as you inhale and slowly exhale..
Repeat the process of noticing the flow of your breath. As you do this, you'll find thoughts coming up. They might be about family, friends, work or absolutely anything else. That doesn't matter – it's all part of the process and it is
perfectly normal to continue to have thoughts whilst you are meditating.
But once these thoughts come up, let them drift away with your next breath. Each time you notice a thought, gently bring your mind back to focusing upon your breathing.
- An open, accepting manner
One of the keys that is often recommended when learning to meditate is to cultivate an open and accepting manner.
Trying to meditate is a lot like trying to sleep – attempting to force it can make it more difficult. Thinking of a meditation session as a chance to relax rather than as a discipline you have to master, can make a difference.
If your attention wanders, try to adopt an attitude of acceptance and avoid getting annoyed. Simply direct your attention back to what you are doing and bring your awareness to the moment.
- Reclaiming our inner peace
In summary, if you are wanting to find a simple and natural way to relax both your mind and body, then meditation may be worth trying. Investing just 10 - 15 minutes a day, you may find (as many people around the world have already found), that meditation can help you to re-discover your sense of inner peace and tranquility that can appear so elusive at times.
- Guided meditation with Dr. Deepak Chopra
The following video clip offers you an example of a short visualisation exercise in which Deepak Chopra (a popular author on personal development and stress management topics) will take you through a gentle meditation. It features some soft sounds of nature and the ocean in the background, which adds to the soothing tone. Remember, there are many different forms of meditation - if one approach does not work for you, maybe another method will
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