How to calm your brain and find peace during a busy day

Posted: October 1, 2014 at 7:56 am

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Amy Capetta TODAY

Sep. 28, 2014 at 7:56 AM ET

The positive power of meditation has made the news once again. Research from Carnegie Mellon University states that practicing mindfulness meditation for 25 minutes per session for three consecutive days can alleviate psychological stress. An analysis of previous studies compiled earlier this year showed this type of meditationwhich involves paying attention to your surroundings while concentrating on your breathingto be moderately effective in battling depression, anxiety and pain.

One of the most important benefits of mindfulness meditation is the ability for us to more fully live our lives, states Janice L. Marturano, executive director of the Institute For Mindful Leadership and the author of "Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership." We become more skillful at noticing those times when we aren't present for our lives, and, more importantly, we know that we are able to redirect our distracted mind.

And if youre assuming that the act of meditating means needing to clear your mind of every worry, every judgment and every item on your to-do list, think again. Its not necessarily about quieting the mind, because the nature of the mind is to think, analyze and compartmentalize, states Ashley Turner, a California-based yoga and meditation teacher. Its normal for our minds to be overactive, so because youre thinking and taking in the sounds around you doesn't mean that youre doing meditation wrong. It actually means youre doing it right! The goal is to create more focus.

Heres some more soothing newschanting for hours on end is not required, either. Turner advises to start small, at just five minutes a day, and add one minute per week until you reach a time that fits best with your lifestyle. It is better to meditate for a short time each day than it is to meditate for an hour on Saturday, adds Marturano.

And like any other type of challenge, it takes practice. Both Marturano and Turner compare training the mind to working out. Its like flexing any other muscle in the bodydoing a bicep curl or a hamstring curlexcept youre building focus to tone the muscle of the mind, explains Turner.

Heres how to start living in a more controlled yet blissful state of mind:

Get comfortable Turner advises designating a specific area in your home thats just for your meditation practice, like perhaps sitting at the foot of your bed or in a cozy chair. Once your place has been established, find the most comfortable position for your body. There is no need for meditation cushions or sitting in a lotus position, adds Marturano. Sitting, standing and lying down are all options. She also suggests choosing an object (or two) that may enhance your session, such as lighting a scented candle or playing relaxation music.

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How to calm your brain and find peace during a busy day

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October 1st, 2014 at 7:56 am

Posted in Meditation