Improve Health With Meditation
By Paul Rothbart
A healthy mind is intimately connected to a healthy body. Anxiety and stress are detrimental to good health and can contribute to the onset of illness. Settling the mind and achieving a state of relaxation is a great way to combat stress. One of the best ways of doing that is meditation. The practice of meditation dates back centuries. Originally used to contemplate and gain a deep understanding of the so-called mystical forces of the universe, meditation is now a common method of relaxing the body and mind while reducing stress. On a basic level, it is very simple, can be done at home, and has a number of benefits for mental and physical health.
Beginners can start with this very simple process of mindfulness. First, sit or lie in a comfortable position, one you can sustain for several minutes. Eyes closed, focus on breathing. Be aware of each breath. I find it helpful to think of the words, "I'm aware I'm breathing in, I'm aware I'm breathing out." Breath deeply aware of the chest and belly expanding and contracting. Keep this up for two minutes. Focus only on breathing. If the mind starts to wander, put it back on the breath. Practice each day. In the morning, after waking and before starting the daily tasks is a good time. Try to extend the length of the meditation a little bit day by day until 15-20 minutes is reached. Once you get comfortable with this basic meditation, there are many others to try. Find the one that works best.
Mental and Emotional Benefits
Meditation clears the mind and can greatly reduce stress. It puts the focus on the present, relieving the traumas of the past and the worries of the future. Self-awareness is increased and a relaxed confident state can be achieved. Negative emotions are diminished while solutions to problems may become more evident due to the greater focus. Meditation has also been known to increase creativity and enhance imagination. Relaxation is just the tip of the iceberg.
Stress is hard on the body and causes all kinds of illnesses and physical problems. Eliminating stress will therefore boost physical health. Specific issues that meditation can help prevent are heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and insomnia. It can also be effective against asthma and cancer. Another great benefit is that it's completely natural and has no side effects. It may become addictive, but in this case, that's a good thing.
Exploiting the mind/body connection to achieve good health in both is an effective strategy. In this regard, meditation is one of the best activities to practice. It is well worth trying. It's a great way to prepare for the day or get ready for sleep. Relax, breathe, meditate.
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