Why not give it a try especially if you are in self isolation at this time.
A number of randomized controlled trials have shown that meditation can:
- Reduce Stress Levels
- Support Brain Health, especially those areas of your brain linked to memory and emotions
- Help with Chronic Pain
- Support Cardiovascular Health, especially with cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
Meditation does not just mean sitting quietly chanting to yourself, but there are a number of different ideas and practices you can do to get the same health benefits. You need to find one that suits you best. Below are a few suggestions:
- Belly Breathing – breathing meditation
Place your hands on your stomach and feel your stomach rise with the in breath, and fall with the outbreath. Concentrate on this for a few minutes to start with, and as you become more practiced and comfortable increase the time.
- Progressive Relaxation Meditation
Find yourself a warm comfortable spot to either sit or lie down, then start at your feet and work your way slowing up your body tensing then releasing each group of muscles.
- Being Present
Again sitting in a comfortable position, now concentrate on:
- Three things you can see – but look for more detail or unusual features to concentrate on such as if looking at leaves or plants, look at the shape, colour, any variation in colour, any insect holes etc
- Three things you can hear – try to distinguish between different sounds, if it is voices, can you pick out a particular voice? If it is traffic, can you pick out a particular vehicle?
- Three things you can feel, for example can you feel the pressure on different body parts when sitting? Can you feel your clothes moving whilst you are breathing? Can you feel your tummy moving whilst you are breathing?
- Guided Meditations
There are a number of guided meditations available over the internet, again it is important to pick some that you enjoy. This can be a very personal choice. Some very popular apps are Calm.com and Headspace.com, both offer a limited time free trial which may be a good way to go when starting out. Just remember to cancel your subscription at the end of the trial if you do not wish to continue. Alternately google “Guided Meditation” for a number of free meditations.
- PrayerDon’t forget prayer is a great form of meditation for those who feel most comfortable with this.
As mentioned before it does not need to be for long periods of time but little “brain breaks” practised regularly can truly support your health and anxiety levels. The less stressed we are the better we are able to cope with unusual events, especially today. This may well also help support your immune system, how many of us become sick when feeling really stressed?
Keep calm, meditate, breath and find things to be grateful for each day, all help and are free to practice.