The art of meditation and how you can benefit from it
In today’s fast-paced society, rife with uncertainty and change, devoting time to self-care and introspection is more important than ever. At Sage Collective, we support and encourage participating in spiritual or religious experiences as part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living. Meditating can be one such practice, revealing a sense of discovery and heightened mindfulness.
What is meditation?
Meditation is an ancient technique used by many for more than 3,500 years; historians have traced its utilization back to the formation of many world religions. The purpose of meditation is to help train oneself in practicing mindfulness while learning to better understand feelings and emotions to create a healthy perspective.
Meditating can feel uncomfortable and challenging at first, since it uses techniques that may be unfamiliar. However, this ancient tradition can lead to immense personal growth and understanding for those who find their groove in the routine.
Research suggests that meditating can have enormous positive effects on managing symptoms of anxiety and depression and reducing stress. Other conditions that can benefit from meditation include chronic pain, insomnia, high blood pressure and IBS. And while experts have yet to completely understand how meditation works, research clearly demonstrates the holistic impact it has on one’s health and well-being.
Tips for how to meditate
- Get comfortable. Find a place to sit upright with legs crossed instead of laying down, as it can be easy to find yourself falling asleep. However, comfort is key for meditation, so avoid positions that may prove uncomfortable after several minutes.
- Keep a timer. It can be easy to worry about time as you start meditating; setting a timer for small increments of 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can be an easy way to avoid that. Scheduling a specific time of the day to meditate can also help with consistency — leading to more beneficial results.
- Focus on breathing. It can be an easy way to get into the flow of meditation. As you breathe, observe what it feels like as air enters your body and then leaves it.
- Be open-minded. As a new experience, it may be hard to empty your mind during meditation. Emotions and feelings that might be uncomfortable may arise, but don’t ignore them; acknowledge their presence and slowly bring your focus back to breathing.
- Don’t give up. It’s also important to remember that meditating takes time and practice to build as a habit, and expecting too much too fast can lead to disappointment. Hang in there, and discover just how much of a life-changer meditation can be!
There is no “right way” to meditate — it is a practice meant to be personalized for each individual and will feel different for everyone. For those looking to become more mindful, self-aware and gain better control over feelings such as anxiety and stress, meditation may be the technique for you.
If the art of meditation interests you, check out the video below. The 10-minute tutorial guides beginners through their first meditation and is narrated by a mindfulness coach and teacher, John Davisi.