Meditation, which originated in Asia, has been around for thousands of years. It is used in various religions and has been proven to help practitioners not only to connect to the world but also to help them find themselves at the same time.
The University of Michigan, University Health Service suggests 10 tips to help improve your mental health. These include finding your self-value, dealing with stress, and quieting the mind, among others. It is these three tips that have a connection with the benefits of regular meditation.
Quiet the Mind
Anxiety and depression can be greatly impacted by a chaotic, unfocused mind. When you are wracked with concerns, you can easily find yourself blowing small things out of proportion and turning them into huge dramas. The practice of meditation requires you to seek a calm mindset. This is achieved with the use of a mantra.
Meditation expert Tris Thorp describes a mantra as a seed planted that will bloom into a beautiful perennial. The word itself translates roughly as "man transport" which essentially explains its purpose. To do this, use the positive intent of the words to move toward something better and healthier.
Through this repetition of the mantra, you naturally start to distract your mind from the chaos. This, in conjunction with a comfortable seated posture and calm level of breathing, can give you a break from the chaos of negative thoughts.
We all face stress daily, life is not easy. Some people can deal with life's stressors better than others and for those who struggle more, meditation may be of help. According to Penn State University, persistent stress can not only lead to distress but also other chronic health issues. These include depression, anxiety, and worsened feelings of grief.
If you have ever felt extremely stressed and made the choice to just stop and breathe, you are probably aware of how focusing this can be. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can be very beneficial in fighting stress and by extension the conditions that chronic stress may lead to. An important part of practicing meditation is cleansing breaths and a slow calm rate of breathing.
The focus of repeating the mantra also helps to calm the mind, clearing it of stressful thoughts. A short 20 - 30 minute meditation session can leave you feeling relaxed, both mentally and physically.
It is vital to have an understanding of your own values and desires. Meditation is one way in which you can begin to achieve a new level of self-understanding. Psychotherapist Eric R Maisel Ph.D. lists ten tips for emotional healing. The very first tip Dr. Maisel suggests is being yourself. In order to live your authentic life, you must get to know yourself internally.
According to the Exploration of Consciousness Research Institute (EOC), self-awareness is in short supply. The institute also suggests that good self-awareness has a number of beneficial effects which include:
Better decision making
Improved optimism and positive attitude
Ability to remain cool and calm
These benefits of improved self-awareness are all easily attained by regular practice of meditation techniques. The inner self-exploration that meditation allows gives you a much deeper understanding of your values and motives. It takes a good understanding of yourself to feel stable and happy.
Your mental health can be a delicate thing and like all other aspects of life, it needs to be maintained. When you are physically exhausted, you need to rest. When your mind is worn out, you must find a way to rest that as well.
Thanks for reading!
Deb Seely, RN
Founder: Nurse Botanicals
Partner: Cubed Naturals NY