Meditation is a powerful tool for living in the modern world. With a society that goes a mile a minute, it’s no wonder that our brains and bodies are on overdrive. This not only makes us feel overworked and stressed; it can actually lead to physical illness. One powerful way to relieve stress and prevent illness in the first place is practicing meditation, which crates harmony in mind and body.

Meditation and Its Benefits

Meditation is a state of mind, achieved through focussing thoughts and attention in specific ways. One of the most common forms of meditation is mindfulness meditation, which utilizes the act of sitting still for a certain period of time and focusing on the rise and fall of the breath. This straightforward act may seem simple, but is actually quite complex. Meditation helps us make space to rest and focus in a fast-paced world. How does listening to our breath benefit our physical, mental, and emotional health? It’s all about the mind/body connection, of course!

Significant research has been conducted on the benefits of meditation for our mind and body, including decreased anxiety and depression as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate. At MindBody Medicine Center, we believe that modern treatments like drugs and surgery don’t address lifestyle factors, like stress, that cause disease in the first place. Stress leads many to illness, and meditation is a great antidote that reduces cortisol released during stressful moments. Over time, high levels of cortisol can cause mood swings and increased appetite, which can easily lead to more serious illnesses, such as obesity, depression, and high blood pressure.

Interested in reducing your stress with a meditation routine? Here are five tips for the beginning meditator:

Five Tips for an Effective Meditation Routine

1. Utilize a timer, video or meditation app. Modern technology has made it easier to find a meditation technique that works for you, from guided apps and videos to a regular phone or kitchen timer if you’d prefer something simple. Popular meditation apps include Calm and Headspace, and YouTube has a plethora of meditation videos.

 2. Turn off the distractions. Reducing distractions is key to effective meditation, as it can help you focus and remain present. Turning off the lights, lighting a candle, putting your phone on silent, wearing comfortable clothes, and designating a quiet space can help you meditate more effectively.

 3. Take breaks. Don’t place unnecessary pressure on yourself to meditate every day or for an exact amount of time. Meditating for an hour versus ten minutes doesn’t make you a better meditator, as your focus may wane over time. Go at your own pace and do what works for you.

 4. Breathe. There are many different breathing techniques that you can utilize, but one of the most popular ones is the 4-7-8 breath technique. This involves breathing in through your nose for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and then slowly exhaling through your mouth for 8 seconds. This repetition helps you concentrate on your breath instead of various anxieties within your mind and gives you a way to return to your breath if you get distracted.

5. Start again. It’s okay if your mind wanders during meditation. The point is not to have no distracting thoughts, it’s being able to ‘witness’ those thoughts and let them come and go. Trying to block all distracting thoughts will only defeat the purpose.

MindBody Medicine Center in Scottsdale is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health naturally through proper mindbody balance. Dr. Ronald Peters, and his staff can help you reduce your stress, cure ailments, and achieve your best quality of life. Contact us today to get started.