Welcome to the 10-part meditation blog series that focuses on the various ways that meditation can assist you and your overall well-being.
Each week I will publish a blog specifically dedicated to how a meditation practice can assist with lowering anxiety levels, seeing your path, help your thoughts go by more easily, etc.
Before diving into this week’s topic, I want to take some time to provide some definitions and answer some questions to ensure that we are all on the same page.
Meditation: thinking deeply or focusing one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation
Mindfulness: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
Why should I care about meditation?
Because it has a direct connection to health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration, slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, lower blood cortisol levels, more feelings of well-being, less stress and deeper relaxation.
Who should meditate?
EVERYONE! You don’t have to have some enlightened, spiritual abilities to practice meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi and go around saying namaste to everyone. You don’t have to know someone within the meditation community to be invited into it. Literally anyone from toddlers to elders can do and benefit from meditation.
Where should I start?
Take your time in trying out all different types of meditation and mindfulness activities to figure out what suites you best (resources provided below). After more and more time is spent meditating you will become more and more comfortable with the idea of being still and focusing your attention to your breath.
Quick Practice: Let’s Give It A Go!
1. Find a quiet space
2. Sit or lie down and get comfortable
3. Close your eyes
4. Breathe natural. Make no effort to control your breathing
5. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe your bodies movements with your
breath. Focus your attention on your breath, remembering not to control it and allowing it to flow in and out naturally. When your mind wanders, that’s okay, just thank your thoughts and return your focus back to your breath.
a. Start with doing this for a few minutes, and then add one more time as your practice progresses.
The Mindful Twenty-Something
Wherever You Go There You Are
How to Walk, How to Sit, How to Eat, Reconciliation
Coming to Our Senses
Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
Insight Timer-Meditation Timer
si·lence | \ ˈsī-lən(t)s \
Definition of silence
1: forbearance from speech or noise :MUTENESS —often used interjectionally
2: absence of sound or noise :STILLNESSin the silence of the night
3: absence of mention:
Humans are natural problem solvers so when we feel an emotion that we do not understand, we want to figure out why. We do this by analyzing our thoughts and actions, venting and talking to friends and family, and maybe even talking with a professional counselor. The troublesome thing is that sometimes after doing all of that, we still feel stumped by our emotions and haven’t cracked the code on them.
Since children we were taught to fill moments of silence with something (speech, action, moving gaze…). But meditation can assist in using the stillness and silence to open yourself up to being comfortable within the silence and help you find your truth.
Try It Out:
Being Comfortable With Silence – Guided Meditation – Listen Here
Inner Calm Deep Relaxation – Listen Here
______________________________________________________________________ Shannon Gonter is a professional counselor in Louisville, KY who works with young adults and specializes in mens issues. She strives to create a counseling environment that men and young adults can relate to, feel heard in and find new solutions to their negative patterns in. Learn more about her and the services she provides at www.therapybyshannon.com.