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Mindfulness and Meditation – What’s in it for me?

 

Mindfulness and meditation is gaining popularity in our schools and healthcare providers due to the numerous benefits  to better health. It improves:

Emotional well being – by increasing resilience, reducing stress and improving mood including depression.

Mind and Brain Function – by improving cognitive skills, memory,  focus and enhanced problem solving.

Physical well being such as reduced blood pressure and inflammatory conditions, improved immunity and cardiovascular health.

The two main reasons people don’t meditate is they think they don’t have time, and/or that they can’t do it properly. The first excuse is countered by the fact that it you do meditate regularly, you actually get more from your day from an efficiency perspective. You gain more focus and greater productivity due to reduced tension and clearer brain functioning. The second argument is countered by the fact that there is no ‘right’ way to meditate. The idea that meditation is trying to blank out thoughts and ‘control’ your mind is misinformed. The fact that you are allowing your brain to wander and release thoughts and emotions is in itself very therapeutic. It might take months or even years to actually get the holy grail of a ‘quiet mind’.

If you have considered learning to meditate, here are some helpful ideas to get you started.

  1. Try an ap. There are many free aps available for download on your smart phone. If you’ve never meditated before, I like “One Giant Mind’ or ‘Headspace’. Here are the top meditation aps from 2016: http://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/top-meditation-iphone-android-apps
  2. Join a meditation class. Look for a local meditation class like Yoga Freedom in Avondale Heights who run regular meditation classes. You may find  a ‘Meetup’ group in your local area: https://www.meetup.com/topics/meditation/
  3. Practice Mindfulness when you walk. Work through each sense – feel the sun on your shoulders , the breeze on your face, your feet moving in your shoes; smell the flowers along the way; hear the birds chirping; focus on the taste in your mouth; watch the patterns the clouds make in the sky and the outline of the trees along your route. The same can be done whilst eating – really focus on chewing your food, tasting the flavours as you eat.
  4. Most yoga classes have some kind of meditation at the beginning or end.

Practice makes perfect – consider scheduling it into your day so it becomes a habit. Mornings are particularly good time, but any time – when you get home from work, before bed – whatever, so long as it becomes routine.

Good luck and we would be keen to get feedback on your success.

We would love you to visit our ‘All Degrees of Health’ Facebook page and tell us your experiences or tips!