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Meditation 101: The Benefits And How-Tos

Meditation 101: The Benefits And How-Tos

Meditation has become more and more common over the past few years and it is well-known that meditation is good for your health but just how good is it? Here are four benefits of meditation and a guide on how to get the most from meditation.

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Meditation 101: The Benefits And How-Tos

Meditation has become more and more common over the past few years and it is well-known that meditation is good for your health but just how good is it? Here are four benefits of meditation and a guide on how to get the most from meditation.

Benefits

Stress/Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety or work in stressful situations, practicing meditation may bring some much needed peace. Meditation, when practiced for several months has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be harmful to your health. Studies also show that, “mediation can reduce the density of the brain tissue associated with stress and anxiety.”

Sleep

If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, meditation may be worth a shot. When meditating, your goal is to slow the thoughts racing through your head, not allowing yourself to drift to thoughts from the past or things to come. By putting your meditation skills to use, you induce relaxation, inviting yourself to a deeper, fuller night’s sleep.

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Relationships

Meditation research is showing that the middle prefrontal cortex of those who meditate are more active and even larger. This area of the brain helps make connections between the thinking part of your brain and the feeling part of your brain. With a higher functioning middle prefrontal cortex you are able to reason clearly and dodge potential arguments or disagreements. In addition to this, when you utilizethe skills of being fully present that meditation teaches, and apply them to time with your friends or significant other, imagine how meaningful your time together becomes when you’re able to be fully there, fully listening!

Cognition

Feeling distracted or cloudy? Mediation improves your ability to observe your thought processes without judgement, to set emotion (stress, negativity, pride)  aside. When we are able to be observant and not clouded by our emotions, we can set clear goals and tackle everyday tasks efficiently.

Meditation 101: The Benefits And How-Tos

How To

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit; either on the floor in a cross legged position or in a chair. Rest your hands on your thighs. Close your eyes.
  • Begin paying attention to your inhale and exhale. Try placing your right hand at the top of your chest and your left hand on your belly. Notice how your chest rises and falls as your tummy fills and empties.
  • As you breathe, thoughts will fill your brain, to do lists will begin, dissatisfaction and judgements for yourself will flood your mind space. When you notice this, do your best to return your attention to your breathing.  Notice the sensations in your nose and throat as well as the skin on your back as your lungs expand at the top of your breath.
  • Continue for 5 minutes.

Repeat this practice everyday and when you feel ready, add on another five minutes. Be patient with yourself as you make progress. Benefits are not only gained by perfect meditation for extended periods of time but also from the brief, continued, habitual practice of mindfulness.

 

Alise Durkota
Alise Durkota
Alise is a mother of two who loves the slow, small town life. She is a teacher turned stay at home mom who loves cooking, her husband, going on long neighborhood walks, just about any baked good (with coffee) and playing with her children. She has a passion for all things childhood development, teaching, and learning.