May has been designated National Meditation Month. Meditation is defined as “a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” Scientific evidence and empirical data illustrate the vast benefits of meditation. Practicing meditation can result in the lowering of an individual’s blood pressure, it can help to improve one’s heart rate, and it can even help to improve one’s breathing. One study found that meditating throughout the study lowered the thickness of the participant’s arterial walls. This finding implies that these individuals have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. There have been studies that indicate the tranquility effects of meditation can be directly correlated to a reduction in one’s stress levels, which can subsequently have a positive effect on one’s immune system. Challenge yourself to celebrate National Meditation Month and consider the following suggestions to either begin a meditation practice or re-energize an existing one:
- Sign up for a beginner meditation class.
- Read a book about meditation.
- Learn the history of meditation.
- Meet with a meditation group.
- Commit to a regular practice (e.g., once a week, twice a week, daily, etc.) for the month of May.
- Try a different style of meditation such as Buddhist or Hindu or Zen or chanting or mantra, etc.
- Take private lessons from a meditation instructor.
- Try meditating in a different environment than you are used to (e.g., go outside to meditate, meditate at work, etc.).
- Teach a novice how to meditate.
- Use a meditation app (e.g., Calm, Insight Timer, Ten Percent Happier, Headspace, Simple Habit, etc.).
Meditation can help increase one’s ability to regulate emotions, which simultaneously decreases unwanted feelings such as stress, anxiety, and/ or depression. If you have been wanting to try meditation or if you have had the desire to hone your practice of meditation, National Meditation Awareness Month is the perfect motivation to get to it.
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