Picture yourself on a beach, all alone, the sun beating down on your body. The only sound you here is your breath going in and out of your lungs and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Your mind is completely free with just a few simple thoughts coming and going. As you take a breath in and release it out, you can feel all of the tension and stress leaving your body and floating to the sea along with the waves. You experience complete relation.
This is meditation.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have this experience every day? Well we CAN! We may not have access to a quiet beach or even just a quiet room, but we can all take at least five minutes out of our day to meditate. There are so many different meditative practices, everyone can find a practice that works for them, and time to fit meditation into their schedules.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation is considered a type of mind/body complementary medicine that produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process results in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.
Meditation was originally practiced to help deepen one’s understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is less of a mystical pursuit, and commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.
The great thing about meditation is that it’s completely free and requires no special equipment. Here are some really easy and helpful meditation techniques to get started with:
- Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. You try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. You may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.
- Mantra meditation. In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts. Transcendental meditation is a type of mantra meditation in which you achieve a deep state of relaxation to achieve pure awareness.
- Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. You can observe your thoughts and emotions but let them pass without judgment.
By practicing these three techniques in your everyday life, you can expect to see huge emotional benefits, such as:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increased self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
So what’s better than a free and easy way to reduce your every-day stress and tension than meditation? And not only can meditation give you those great emotional benefits but it has been known to help physical conditions such as allergies, anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders and much more!
If you are interested in every day practices of meditation, more ways to build your meditation practice and elements of meditation, check out this great article by the Mayo Clinic:
And if you’re looking for one-on-one personal training or guidance on meditation, please feel free to call the Carolina Partners Wellness Center at 919-792-3940 to set up an appointment with Allison Grubbs, LCSW, LCAS, who offers mindfulness/meditation coaching in concert with traditional individual therapy.