If You’ve Never Meditated, Here’s Exactly What You Need To Know


Do you feel yourself being pulled in a million different directions? For most of us, that’s a definite yes; which is why the practice of meditation and the technique of mindfulness have gained so much traction. After all, to reap the numerous benefits of meditation and mindfulness—lower blood pressure, decreased pain, improved function of the immune system, improved mood and brain function—all you have to do is give yourself a few minutes of quiet, to focus on the here and now. Sounds simple enough, right?

Unfortunately, though, our minds aren’t always the most cooperative. When all you want to do is clear your thoughts and focus on the present moment, it can feel impossible to stop replaying the various problems, stressors and fears in your daily life. So what’s the trick to mastering this whole meditation thing? And getting the classic lotus pose down?

Let’s start with the basics:

Aren’t mindfulness and meditation essentially the same thing?

While they’re very similar, and can help you to achieve the same feelings of relaxation, peace and wellbeing, they aren’t the same.

Mindfulness: A mental state where you focus on the here-and-now, the present moment, not past concerns or future worries. You also learn to accept these thoughts and feelings without passing judgment on them, such as labeling them as good or bad, right or wrong.

Meditation: A practice where you use a technique to achieve mental clarity and calmness. The most popular techniques that are used to reach this mental state are:

·         Mindfulness: Observing thoughts and images as they appear to you, letting them come and go, resisting the urge to attach to them.
·         Concentrative: This involves focusing on one specific thing. It can be your breath, a mantra, a picture or any single image, object or sound.
·         Transcendental: Using a balance of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sides to turn inward and quiet and your thoughts.

How do I get started?

There’s no denying that meditating can be a little intimidating. Clearing your mind and focusing on the present moment is no easy feat. But that’s why it’s important to start with shorter sessions, and easy techniques. Here are a few meditations just for you:

Mindfulness meditation (5-10 minutes):

·         Find a quiet place with few distractions. You can sit or lie down, someplace comfortable, just make sure your body is relaxed.
·         Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing. Focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall and the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth.
·         Watch every thought come and go. When thoughts come up, don't hold them back. Simply note them and return to your breathing.
·         You can always use soothing music or guided imagery to help you focus on the present moment.

Progressive muscle relaxation (5-10 minutes):

·         Find a quiet place with few distractions. You can sit or lie down, someplace comfortable, just make sure your body is relaxed.
·         Take in a deep breath. Hold that breath for a count of 4, let it out, and begin to relax. Do this about 4 times. As you breathe in, think about good, soothing energy flowing in. As you breathe out, breathe out your stress and bad thoughts.
·         Allow your mind to focus on one body part at a time. Move from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. As you move down your body, you may want to tighten and then relax certain body parts. This helps to show how different your body feels when it is tense and when it is relaxed.
·         Relax your head and your scalp. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.
·         Move down to your eyes. Relax your eyes and the muscles around your eyes. Squeeze your eyes tight for 4 counts, then relax. Notice the difference in your eyes and face when your eyes are squeezed and tense, and when they are relaxed.
·         Focus on your mouth. Relax your mouth. Allow it to go limp.... Move down your neck, and relax your neck muscles.... Relax your shoulders....
·         When you get to your arms, you may relax them one at a time or both at the same time. You may even choose to relax each finger, one at a time.

Being mindful of your health.

There are many everyday factors that can impact your health and well-being, stress being one of the most common. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s something you just have to accept. That’s why the expert providers of GMG Primary Care offer compassionate, customized care to treat the whole person. No health factor, regardless of how big or small, should be ignored. You can count on GMG Primary Care for all of your unique health needs.

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