By Dr. Marilyn Calzadilla and Hannah Krueger
Meditation originated in ancient Eastern societies over 3,000 years ago. It has roots in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions but has been a part of history in cultures all around the world. Generally, meditation is an act of focusing your mind in order to achieve relaxation, mental clarity, and peace. Meditation can look different for each person. Some people practice traditional Eastern meditations. Others incorporate techniques such as mindfulness, prayer, compassion, transcendentalism, or even Yoga.
What do these all have in common?
Taking time to be quiet, slow down, reflect inward, and practice something intentionally. This can be done by anyone, you don’t have to be a monk or yoga teacher to participate. In fact, more and more research is being done to investigate the benefits of regular meditation practice. The practice of meditation can reduce stress, increase concentration, encourage compassion towards yourself and others, and can even increase a sense of happiness and well-being.
Often, meditation practice can be relaxing, and many people find that when they feel more relaxed, they also have the ability to show themselves compassion. When we are able to engage in self-compassion, we tend to treat ourselves better. In doing so we increase the likelihood of making healthier choices and being positive. Meditation gives us intentional time and space to reflect on our lives and live purposefully. Meditation can also improve focus and strengthen your decision-making process. If you’re struggling to make decisions such as what to eat, when to exercise, how to handle stressors, meditation can help you more successfully navigate such matters. Meditation allows your brain to process information faster, which can lead to better decision-making. Additionally, when you are able to focus more easily, you can achieve a greater sense of clarity and calmness in your day.
The benefits of meditation also extend to your health
Meditation practice has been linked to decreased stress levels and improved immunity. It can also help to curb emotional eating, decrease heart rate, improve blood pressure, and even reduce physical pain. Regular meditation practice can help you feel more centered and settled in your body and mind, with lasting physical and mental health benefits. However, it may feel like a daunting process to initiate a meditation practice. The good news is that there are many amazing resources available at little to no cost to help you get started on your own meditation journey. One of the easiest ways to get started is to download a meditation app that can lead you through daily, simple exercises. The apps below are available for both iPhone and Android and in no time, you’ll develop some amazing skills.
- The Mindfulness App
- Insight Timer
- Stop, Breathe & Think