Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Research shows meditation may slow, stall, or even reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging. Also, it can help regulate activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in processing emotions and mood.
You can meditate while sitting, walking, traveling on a plane or even while commuting to work. Start with counting your breath for 5 minutes. As you become more comfortable, simply increase the time. What’s most important is to begin being able to observe the thoughts and feelings arising in your mind in the present moment. Your mind will wander and that’s okay. You can become aware of the new thought and then go back to counting your breath.
“Our progress in meditation does not depend on the measure of pleasure or pain in our experience. Rather, the quality of our practice has to do with how open we are to whatever is there.”
― Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation: A Psychology of Freedom
The goal of mindfulness meditation is developing a nonjudgmental awareness of bodily sensations and mental activities occurring in the present moment.
The many benefits from meditation have been studied for years. It has been proven to:
- Help with Insomnia
- Reduce blood pressure
- Relieve anxiety and depression
- Reduce physical discomfort and pain perception
- Reduce stress
- Improve concentration
- Increase self-awareness and happiness
To experience these benefits, it’s necessary to make meditation a daily habit. When developing a new habit, it helps to set a specific time each day devoted to that new task to keep you accountable. The following apps can help you begin your practice. I recommend downloading and trying out any of the following:
- 100% Happier