A little meditation can go a long way toward reducing stress. First practiced thousands of years ago in the eastern part of the world, meditation has become popular here in the West. Meditation can help people cope with problems, feel more relaxed and develop a more positive outlook on life and its many challenges.
As a social worker who has been doing meditation for more than 10 years, I’ve practiced short meditations with my clients and referred many people to meditation classes. Meditation can help people cope with mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. Meditation can help lower blood pressure and help people cope with other physical problems such as arthritis, according to WebMd. However, meditation should be done in addition to but not in place of other treatments for physical and mental health issues.
Meditation refers to the practice of focusing attention on one action at a time. Most people focus on their breath as they slowly breathe in and out. Other people focus on a mantra or specific word or phrase they can repeat while practicing deep breathing. If you decide to use a mantra, keep it short. Love, peace, joy and one are all good words to use in a mantra, according to WebMd.
Find the Right Place to Meditate
Meditation can be done almost anywhere. Some people prefer to be outside where they can focus on nature. Parks, gardens and backyards are good outdoor places to meditate in. Some city dwellers have even been known to go up on the roofs of their apartment buildings to meditate.
Most people prefer to meditate indoors and away from bad weather such as rain. Find a quiet spot in your home. Turn off your cell phone, television, radio or other distractions. However, some people like to meditate with soft music or nature sounds playing on a CD player. Others prefer to meditate in silence. See what technique works best for you.
You can sit in a chair or sit cross-legged on a yoga mat or pillow placed on the floor. Sit up straight as you meditate. Some people like to close their eyes while others keep their eyes open. If your eyes are open, pick one spot on the floor or wall and focus on it.
Then, slowly breathe in and out and become aware of your breath. If you want to use a mantra, begin to say it aloud or silently to yourself. Start with five minutes and gradually work your way up to ten or 15 minutes a day.
When You Should Meditate
Many people start their day with meditation. Early morning is a good time to meditate because most people are still asleep, and the house should be quiet. Meditating the first thing in the morning puts you in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day. You will feel calm, focused and ready to tackle any issues, problems or stresses you will face at home, work or school.
Some people meditate during their lunch hour. Other people wait to meditate until the evening after dinner has been cooked and eaten, the dishes have been washed, and the children have been put to bed. No matter what time of day you choose for meditation, try to do it at the same time and place every day. This will help you to make meditation a habit.
How to Cope With Distractions
Meditation is easy to do if you learn how to deal with distractions effectively. Some people find they can’t meditate without getting interrupted by their family, especially small children. If this happens, try getting up early to meditate while the kids are still sleeping.
The biggest distractions that keep most people from meditating effectively are internal ones. Once you start meditating, you may find yourself distracted by thoughts of chores that didn’t get done, an important meeting at work tomorrow or some other issue or problem. If this happens, simply acknowledge the thought and bring your focus back to your breath or your mantra, if you are using one.
Don’t let these thoughts bother you. Be gentle with yourself. Meditation takes time and practice just like any other new activity you try.
Keep practicing meditation, and notice how your problems begin to disappear. You’ll find yourself better able to cope with daily problems – even if you have to go up on the roof to do it.
Meditation – Topic Overview, WebMd
My own experiences with meditation and meditating with clients
This article was based on one I previously wrote for Wikinut