I felt that meditation is such an important part of maintaining psychological and emotional wellness, that it warrants further explanation. Forgive me if any of this is repeated from last years meditation post. I decided to keep a lot in for the benefit of cogency, review, etc.
Meditation can be an easy and effective way to reduce anxiety, calm your nerves and improve your mood. Meditation can achieve stress reduction and treat anxiety without the use of medication, a natural antidepressant. It can be achieved in the short term for quick stress reduction or if practiced on a regular basis, it can also have cumulative, progressive effects in the longer term. It has been shown that on going, daily meditation can be effective for mood stabilization, lower anxiety levels and focus in your day to day life and there are studies that show that it even enhances the brain. Here are the most basic methods of how to practice meditation.
Here’s how: find a quiet and place free of noise or other distractions. You may choose to close your eyes if there are visual distractions. Sit still in this quiet space for 10 – 30 minutes (time can be suited to what is most comfortable to you). In this serene space, do not focus on any thought, but instead, focus on a neutral aspect such as your own breathing. If you choose to use your own breathing to focus on, go ahead and begin to notice the quality of your breath, the speed of it, the intensity, virtually any quality of the breath. If thoughts enter your mind (they very well might), allow them to come and go without engaging them.
Another method of meditating is with Mantra. A Mantra is a simple word or phrase that you say silently to yourself over and over to yourself. Pick a word that does not have much meaning (try saying “one” as some have done) or even a sound word (i.e. “ring”) or even Ohm. If thoughts come, let them and just remember to return to the mantra.
It may sound simple, but to some this may pose as a challenge. That is why it is referred to as the “practice” of meditation. The more you practice, the more effective you become at training your mind not to attach with thoughts that may be tempting to connect with. A crucial lesson meditation can impart to us is to learn how not to over-identify with our own thoughts. Thinking too much brings with it stress, anxiety, sadness, etc. Instead of ruminating on fear, anxiety and things that make us sad, meditation teaches us how to live in the pure, beautiful moment. Practicing such a lifestyle cultivates inner peace.