Meditation: A Mindful Practice
-By Brett Qualls, PT, DPT
Meditation is something that I have personally been working to incorporate into my daily routine. Initially, I started the journey because I felt pressured to just “pick something” for my New Year’s resolution. After my knee jerk reaction to add meditation into my daily routine, I started doing a little bit of research on the practice. Meditation has been used for thousands of years, but some recent research is showing some very valuable benefits to the practice of meditation.
What is meditation?
Depending on who you ask, meditation can mean many things to many different people. Meditation is a practice of taking charge of or controlling our mind. It is a combination of relaxation, awareness, and focus. Meditation types can vary and are meant to train the brain in the area of awareness, provide mental clarity, and improve mindfulness.
There are many different styles of meditation to pursue, which mostly boils down to personal preference. Whether you meditate in a group setting, individually, or as part of a spiritual practice. Regardless of your mediation style, there are many proven benefits to meditation.
Many studies have found stress-reducing benefits to a meditation practice. This has been a long-held principle of mindful meditation, but several studies have showed strong trends for stress reduction. One study found a 31% reduction in stress symptoms with a 7-week course of mindful meditation. This is incredible! To think that meditation can reduce stress, which we know causes a host of other problems, in a way that is cheap and medication-free!
Meditation makes people happy. Meditation can actually help to improve positive emotion and reduce anxiety. One study in particular found that an 8-week practice of meditation reduced “ruminative thinking”. Essentially meditation helped participants to not dwell on the negative or to over think past negative experiences. Meditation has also been found to reduce depression.
Many business professionals use meditation to improve their productivity with home and work-related tasks. Improved productivity in the work environment would essentially mean that someone could get more work done during a given day or get the same amount of work done in less time. Who doesn’t like that? This is largely attributed to benefits of meditation practice including improved focus, improved ability to multi-task, and improved memory.
How to Start
Ok, so meditation sounds legit…how do you start? Thera are many paths to starting meditation. You can find guided meditations online or one of many meditation applications on your phone or tablet. You can also find several local avenues including yoga studios where you can start your meditation practice. Different meditation types work differently for each individual. The key is to try a few meditation mediums and see which works best for you!
With delving into meditation this year, I have learned that there is so much more to the practice than I had ever imagined. It is referred to as a “practice” because it is not something that you can master right away. It takes time to learn how to meditate, so don’t get frustrated if you aren’t a master meditator right out of the shoot. Most of the studies look at a course of seven to eight weeks of course of meditation to yield results. Meditation sounds kind of like the magic pill, and in many ways it kind of is. Meditation has been shown to help improve both work and personal lives. Consider a new addition to your life…Meditation: A Mindful Practice
*Copyright Havasu Living Magazine