Meditation to Enhance Wellness-By Marci DeBord
(This article was featured in the Victoria Advocate[masked] click link below to view:)
Meditation as a daily spiritual practice promotes the mind, body, and spirit to harmonize and become more balanced. Therefore, improvements in health, psychological, and self-awareness can be obtained. Moreover, contributes to peace of mind, heighten awareness, reduced stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal spiritual growth. There is a variety of meditation techniques, finding one or more that resonates and applying into daily life is beneficial to overall health.
Meditation can be defined as "a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself." Many spiritual traditions use meditation, common elements include: focus of attention, letting go of thought patterns, alignment to body, mind, and spirit, working toward enlightenment of consciousness, and a habitual process.
Studies performed by Dr. Herbert Benson, along with colleagues at Harvard Medical School, found that meditation had physiological effects of heartbeat and breathing rates slowed down, oxygen consumption falls by 20 percent, blood lactate levels drop, this level rises with stress and fatigue, skin resistance to electrical current, a sign of relaxation, increases fourfold, EEG ratings of brain-wave patterns indicate increased alpha activity, which is another sign of relaxation. Other studies completed by Benson found with regular meditation a person felt more focused and calm, can make choices in the moment, less prone to struggle when stressed. Additionally, meditation has been shown to be effective "in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, heart disease, migraine headaches, and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis."
Important factors for success in meditation include: a quiet place to relax, not tired, sit comfortably, room temperature not too cold or warm, and wear comfortable loose clothing. Also, at first have consistency, practice about the same time and place each day where you will not be disturbed, the morning is considered the optimal time.
An important aspect in meditation is to maintain a straight back, at first you may find this uncomfortable. Keeping the spine straight naturally aids in the flow of energy that moves up and down the spine. If necessary use a chair, but recommended to only sit on the front half of the seat, and keep feet flat on the floor. Length of time to meditate at first should be 3-5 minutes once a day, then to work towards 20 or 30 minutes once or twice daily. In the beginning your mind may wander be patient and gentle with self, eventually your mind will become calmer and calmer during meditation.
"Prayer is when you talk to God: meditation is when you listen to God."-The People's Almanac
For examples of different meditations visit www.mbsholistichealth.com, click blog, go to Meditation tab.
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