Doctor’s Order: There is power in meditation – Daily Herald

Posted: February 13, 2021 at 10:54 pm

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Lately, it seems that my mind has been going 100 miles per hour with no signs of slowing down.

Because of this, I havent been able to focus, give my full attention to others or complete tasks. This has begun to take a toll on my emotional and physical health, even making sleep difficult.

As my situation began to get worse, I knew that I needed to make a change.

Over the Christmas break, I stumbled upon a 21-day meditation challenge that piqued my interest. Typically, when we hear the world meditation we picture someone sitting cross-legged, arms out to the side, fingers in the OK position, palms facing upward to the sky, all whilst uttering unrecognizable chants.

However, this is not what true meditation is. In fact, it may surprise you to learn (as it did me) that true meditation is the practice of quieting the mind, not sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting.

Although it sounds simple enough, quieting the mind is actually more difficult than you may imagine. Meditation is called a practice because it must occur on a regular basis in order to improve and reap the benefits that it can bring.

During the challenge that I participated in, we began with short meditations that were approximately 5-10 minutes long. The instructions were to sit in a comfortable position and, following guidance from an audio recording, focus on our breathing. Simple, right? Wrong. So wrong.

It was amazing to me how quickly my brain would jump from focusing on my breath to revisiting something that had happened earlier that day. Sometimes a random memory would pop up and Id go down a rabbit hole thinking about that.

As part of the guided instructions, once you recognized that you were not focused on your breath, you were supposed to refocus on your breathing. So, I forced my thoughts to go back to my breath. Within seconds, however, I would find myself worrying about what needed to be done at work or something I had to get done that day.

Meditation became sort of a back and forth game. I would focus on my breathing, get distracted, refocus on my breathing, get distracted and refocus. I found myself going through this cycle repeatedly until the meditation was over.

I played this game for what seemed like an eternity. This eternity was only 6 minutes. Yikes. I had a lot of work to do.

As I continued on with this challenge, I realized that meditation truly was a practice. But, with each practice, I got a little better. I started to notice that I was able to shut out the world and turn off the racing thoughts in my head with more ease than when I first began this challenge.

With time, I noticed that tuning out distracting thoughts came more natural to me. I didnt have to think about it as much or try as hard to stay focused.

As the 21 days progressed, I noticed small positive changes in my life as I continued my meditation practiced. Although I was nowhere near perfect with my meditations, I did feel better mentally, emotionally and physically.

As Ive researched more about the benefits of meditation, research has shown that it can have a positive impact in a variety of ways. According to research, meditation can help:

One of the greatest benefits of meditation is that anyone can do it, and it can be done anytime, anywhere. You dont need special equipment, its free of charge, and there are unlimited resources out there to help you find the type of meditation that is right for you.

Again, meditation is a practice, and it takes time to get used to and get better at. If you decide this is something that could be beneficial to you, start small. Begin with a few minutes each day.

Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and focus on your breath. If a thought comes into your mind, release it, focus back on your breathing, and repeat this process until the timer goes off. Gradually build up your time as you get better at focusing your thoughts and releasing the distractions that come into your mind.

I challenge you to try this practice and stick to it. Be open minded and patient with yourself and see what happens.

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Doctor's Order: There is power in meditation - Daily Herald

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February 13th, 2021 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Meditation